Grace Alone

I am more than a little nervous in composing my first blog.  I am worried you will:

be unimpressed with my writing style

not be nourished with my devotional thoughts

stop reading because I struggle with the same things you do

print a copy of my blog, give it to your pastor, who will want to focus on being right instead of right-eous.

That is why I am asking for your grace.   I respectfully request that you put down your “red pen” and allow sinful ol’ me to share my heart with you.

Today I want to talk about “grace”.  I need barges full of it.  I am quite capable at being culpable.  Just because I bear the title “ordained” does not mean that I have all the answers or have risen above pride and self-centeredness.

Much of what I learned at the seminary was helpful.  Some was not.  In my homiletics class (that’s where we learn how to preach via a merciless camcorder) we were taught to not share our struggles.  The robe is our invisibility cloak.  We disappear.  Only Jesus remains.  Uh, no!

The trait I most value about being a Jesus follower, is that it is not about me.  It is not about how good or bad I am—but how holy and loving God is.  God wants to give me grace.  God is the rain cloud to the drought of my spirit.  It is God’s decision to love me—regardless of what I think of me!

Theologians love to use Latin phrases.  Odd as it is, we use a dead language to describe a God who is risen from the grave!  The phrase is “sola gratia:  grace alone.” The truth of sola gratia is what inspired John Newton,  a repentant slave trader, to write the wonderful song “Amazing Grace.” It is a grace so amazing that it can save a wretch like me. It is an amazing grace that “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

I belong to a mainline denomination that believes in grace but has an affinity for rules.  “Worship like this.” “Don’t do that.”  “We all have to do church the same way.” It saddens me that with our lips we say “grace” but argue vociferously over the rules of convention.

To M.E. (my initials) grace is believing that God loves me even when I don’t love me.  Grace is the daily reminder that God does not give me what I deserve.  Grace is the fact that God blesses me with what I need even when I am an ingrate.  Grace is my ability to love someone else without the need to convert them—but rather to love them—and trust the same grace that loves me will love them!  Grace lets me honestly disagree with someone and still feel compelled to love them!

Today I heard the song ‘Grace Alone’ by Scott Wesley Brown and Jeff Thomas. The song begins with the words ‘Every promise we can make’.  As a song of praise and consecration it balances total dependence upon God’s grace with personal resolution and responsibility to give to others the same grace God has given to me.

every promise we can make
every prayer ant step of faith
every difference we can make
is only by his grace
every mountain we will climb
every ray of hope we shine
every blessing left behind
is only by his grace

(chorus)
grace alone
which god supplies
strengh unknown
he will provide
christ in us
our cornerstone
we will go forth in grace alone

every soul we long to reach
every heart we hope to teach
everywhere we share his peace
is only by his grace
every loving word we say
every tear we wipe away
every sorrow turned to praise
is only by his grace

8 thoughts on “Grace Alone

  1. Loved it, keep them coming. I like the thought that God loves me even when I don’t love me. I struggle with loving me often so this spoke to me. Thank you!

  2. Sorry I am so late to the party. What a joy to read your posts and ‘hear’ your voice again and find the Spirit still at work at St. John. Rich blessings at Christmas,

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