Tag Archives: grace

Amazing Grace

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.

’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed!

Through many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me,
His Word my hope secures;
He will my Shield and Portion be,
As long as life endures.

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who called me here below,
Will be forever mine.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’d first begun.

Words by John Newton, 1779
Music by James P. Carrell & David S. Clayton, 1831

 


Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:8 – 10

Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.  But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.  This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus
Romans 3:20 – 24

What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!
Romans 7:24 – 25


 

If we are honest, most of us tend to think pretty highly of ourselves.  We like to think we are the most interesting person we know.  We like to think we have amazing talents that are unmatched.  We like to think that we can do any we set our minds to doing. And most importantly, we like to think that we are really good people.  But are we really any of these things?

I mean, if I am really honest, there are definitely more interesting people out there than me.  There are also people with far more amazing talents than I have.  If I am honest, I would much rather sit back and relax rather than following through on some of my projects.  And finally, deep down, I realize I am not such a good person, but rather someone who likes to look out for my own interest. This theme is found presented in John Newton’s famous hymn, “Amazing Grace.”

Newton writes, “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that save a wretch like me.” We all have heard these words sung and often sung them ourselves.  But when we stop to listen to the words we might ask, “Really, isn’t that a little harsh. A wretch like me?  I mean really, I am not that bad.”  But when we stop to look at the real magnitude of God’s grace, we realize that in comparison with that grace, we are, . . I am, a miserable wretch. It is then that we can say with Paul in Romans 7:24, “What a wretched man I am!”

You see, in our eyes we may look at some people as greater sinners than others.  But the reality is that in God’s eyes, there is no difference between one sin and another.  And one sinner is not greater than another.  Look at the words of Romans 3:23 which tell us, “There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  You see it does not matter what sin you have done or how many you have done. The words of the hymn hold true, we are sinners and truly can say “a wretch like me.”

What is more, this grace is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:8) to see us through our trials. Newton writes, “Through many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come; ’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, And grace will lead me home.” When we realize the situation we really live in, then we can look back and see that it is God’s grace alone, not our doing, that has safely brought us to the point we now find ourselves.  What is more, this grace that has brought us to today, can see us through to the end.

It is truly an amazing grace that has been bestowed on us.  A grace that we desperately need. A grace that can be found through Christ alone.  There is a famous quote given by John Newton later in his life that sums it up.  “Although my memory’s fading, I remember two things very clearly: I am a great sinner and Christ is a great Savior.” When we understand this and begin to truly see ourselves as Newton did, we find new meaning in these familiar words, “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.”

 

 

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Wonderful Grace of Jesus

Wonderful grace of Jesus,
Greater than all my sin;
How shall my tongue describe it,
Where shall its praise begin?
Taking away my burden,
Setting my spirit free;
For the wonderful grace of Jesus reaches me.
Wonderful the matchless grace of Jesus,
Deeper than the mighty rolling sea;
Higher than the mountain, sparkling like a fountain, all sufficient grace for even me.
(Wonderful grace, all sufficient for me, for even me.)
Broader than the scope of my transgressions,
Greater far than all my sin and shame,
O magnify the precious Name of Jesus.
Praise His Name!

Wonderful grace of Jesus,
Reaching to all the lost,
By it I have been pardoned,
Saved to the uttermost,
Chains have been torn asunder,
Giving me liberty;
For the wonderful grace of Jesus reaches me.
Wonderful the matchless grace of Jesus,
Deeper than the mighty rolling sea;
Higher than the mountain, sparkling like a fountain, all sufficient grace for even me.
(Wonderful grace, all sufficient for me, for even me.)
Broader than the scope of my transgressions,
Greater far than all my sin and shame,
O magnify the precious Name of Jesus.
Praise His Name!

Wonderful grace of Jesus,
Reaching the most defiled,
By its transforming power,
Making him God’s dear child,
Purchasing peace and heaven,
For all eternity;
And the wonderful grace of Jesus reaches me.
Wonderful the matchless grace of Jesus,
Deeper than the mighty rolling sea;
Higher than the mountain, sparkling like a fountain, all sufficient grace for even me.
(Wonderful grace, all sufficient for me, for even me.)
Broader than the scope of my transgressions,
Greater far than all my sin and shame,
O magnify the precious Name of Jesus.
Praise His Name!

Word and Music by Haldor Lillenas, 1918

 


For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.
2 Corinthians 8:9

For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:17

So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.
Romans 8:1 – 2

For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
Titus 2:11-14

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 12:2

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
Romans 8:14 – 17


 

We use the term grace regularly in business. When you receive e a bill, it has a due date and what is called a “grace period” that is an extended time in which you can pay the bill without any penalty. Now technically speaking this is grace, it is giving you an undeserved reprieve on what you owe. But in this case, the grace has an ending. Additionally, it does not cover all that you own, it only delays the implementation of a penalty.

In his hymn, “Wonderful Grace of Jesus” Haldor Lillenas presents to us the reality, that when compared with the grace that is available through Jesus, anything else called grace is meaningless.

The grace received through Christ is “Greater than all my sin.” Now, for those of us who are honest with our selves, we begin to realize how profoundly great that really is. But it is all to easy for us to say, “well yes I have sinned, but at least I am better than that person.” But if the Apostle Paul himself could say, “I am the worst.” of sinners (1 Timothy 1:15) than how can we say we are any better. No, Jesus has given us grace that is “greater than all my sin.” A grace that is beyond measure, and beyond description.

It is a grace that removes a weight from my shoulders. It “Tak(es) away my burden” and “Set(s) my spirit free.” It releases us from the chains that bind us and sets us free. Free from our guilt, free from our penalty. Lillenas says, “ By it I have been pardoned.” Pardoned and free, this is what Paul declares to us in Romans 8:1 – 2 where we read, “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.”

Yes, the grace of Jesus has pardoned us and set us free, but if this is not enough, Lillenas presents to us a far greater outcome of His grace when he writes, “Wonderful grace of Jesus, Reaching the most defiled, By its transforming power, Making him God’s dear child.”

Yes, we are pardoned. Yes, we are set free But for greater than either of these, we are adopted into Gods family. In Romans 8:14 – 17 Paul tells us that “the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ.”

It truly is wonderful grace that we can receive from Jesus. Grace that not only paid our penalty, grace that not only set us free, but grace that has made us children of God Himself. It is only when we start to grasp the magnitude of this wonderful grace that we can even begin to “magnify the precious Name of Jesus. Praise His Name!”

 

 

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Justified Fully

O what a wonderful, wonderful day –
day I will never forget;
After I’d wandered in darkness away,
Jesus my Savior I met.
O what a tender, compassionate friend –
He met the need of my heart;
Shadows dispelling, With joy I am telling,
He made all the darkness depart.
Heaven came down and glory filled my soul,
When at the cross the Savior made me whole;
My sins were washed away –
And my night was turned to day –
Heaven came down and glory filled my soul!

Born of the Spirit with life from above
into God’s fam’ly divine,
Justified fully thru Calvary’s love,
O what a standing is mine!
And the transaction so quickly was made
when as a sinner I came,
Took of the offer of grace He did proffer –
He saved me, O praise His dear name!
Heaven came down and glory filled my soul,
When at the cross the Savior made me whole;
My sins were washed away –
And my night was turned to day –
Heaven came down and glory filled my soul!

Now I’ve a hope that will surely endure
after the passing of time;
I have a future in heaven for sure,
there in those mansions sublime.
And it’s because of that wonderful day
when at the cross I believed;
Riches eternal and blessings supernal
from His precious hand I received.
Heaven came down and glory filled my soul,
When at the cross the Savior made me whole;
My sins were washed away –
And my night was turned to day –
Heaven came down and glory filled my soul!

Words and Music by John W. Peterson, 1961

But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.

. . . For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith.
Romans 3:21 – 26, 28 – 30

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ
Romans 5:1

 

“Oh what a wonderful, wonderful day, day I will never forget.”  This hymn written by John Peterson is definitely a fun song to sing.  The rolling melody is filled with joy and energy to the point that the music itself portrays the same feeling that is given with the words.  And the chorus is readily recognizable to people.

But as I sing this hymn, it is the second verse that strikes me with such important and profound truths.  Peterson writes, “Justified fully thru Calvary’s love.”  This is the great gift of salvation.  We have been justified, that is, we have been made right in our standing before God.  But how has that happened.  Romans 3:24 tells us that “all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”  We are justified, made right, because God has shown us His grace through His Son, Jesus Christ.  He alone is our source of redemption.

What is more, Paul goes on to write, in verse 28, “a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.” You see, there are no actions, or good things we can do, which will justify us before God.  It is only by believing in Jesus Christ that we can be made right before God.  What is more, it is not a long and arduous process to receive this.  It is not something that happens over a long period of time.  No it happens the moment we choose to believe.  As Peterson writes it, “And the transaction so quickly was made, when as a sinner I came, Took of the offer of grace He did proffer – He saved me, O praise His dear name!”

Paul goes on to write in Romans 5:1, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”  All that has separated us from God had been removed.  We can now freely stand before Him.  So I sing with a renewed vigor and joy, the words of the third verse.

“Now I’ve a hope that will surely endure
after the passing of time;
I have a future in heaven for sure,
there in those mansions sublime.
And it’s because of that wonderful day
when at the cross I believed;
Riches eternal and blessings supernal
from His precious hand I received.”

 

 

Read more about “Heaven Came Down.”

Grace That Is Greater Than All Our Sin

Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!
Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured,
There where the blood of the Lamb was spilled.
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin.

Sin and despair, like the sea waves cold,
Threaten the soul with infinite loss;
Grace that is greater, yes, grace untold,
Points to the refuge, the mighty cross.
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin.

Dark is the stain that we cannot hide.
What can avail to wash it away?
Look! There is flowing a crimson tide,
Brighter than snow you may be today.
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin.

Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace,
Freely bestowed on all who believe!
You that are longing to see His face,
Will you this moment His grace receive?
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin.

Words by Julia H. Johnston, 1911
Music by Daniel B. Towner, 1910

 

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Ephesians 2:4 – 10

 

It is said that there is no such thing as a free lunch, that is, “you don’t get something for nothing.” This is what we call a proverb, an insightful observation of the world around us. And as we look at the world around us, most of us would agree with this.

It is no wonder then that we are so excited when we receive a gift, especially when that gift comes out of no where and seems utterly undeserved.

But an undeserved gift with no string attached is exactly what God has offered to each and everyone of us. But this gift is only of use to those who are willing to accept it.  It is received by believing in Jesus and choosing to follow him.  We call this gift grace.

Ephesians 2:8 – 9  tells us, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”  Salvation has nothing to do with what we do.  In fact, there is nothing we can do to earn it.  “It is the gift of God.”  And this grace is able to forgive us for all of our failings.   Romans 3:21 – 24 tells us, “But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”

Grace.  It is one of the most beautiful words in the world.  It is receiving, for free, something we do not deserve, something we can never achieve on our own.  This is what Julia Johnston expresses in her hymn, “Grace, Greater Than Our Sin.”

In her final verse, Johnston writes, these words, “Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace, Freely bestowed on all who believe!” There is an endless list of words that can be used to describe the miraculous gift of grace.  And so I rest in the truth presented in the chorus, “Grace, grace, God’s grace, Grace that will pardon and cleanse within; Grace, grace, God’s grace, Grace that is greater than all our sin.”

 

 

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