Eph.2:4 –10 - 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 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 that 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. (NIV) 

In the Apostle Paul’s New Testament letters to the churches, the word grace is used in the greetings and salutations. There is an important reason for that. The readers, in those days and today, are in desperate need of the grace of God. You see, we have no hope without grace being extended to us. Grace is the key that opens the door and provides opportunity to experience real life. The opposite of grace would be to get back at someone, to be condemning or judgmental which takes away life. God is not trying to get back at you. He loves you and He is demonstrating His love to you by extending grace. Grace is His undeserved, unmerited favor!  It cannot be bought by well-intentioned efforts, or it would not be grace. Grace is a gift from God!

God’s very nature is gracious. If you belong to God, you are not “sort of favored,” you are “highly favored” because God cannot extend “a sort of favor.”  That is contrary to His nature. You are special, you are chosen, you have hope. All because God is being true to his very gracious nature.  You see, God’s grace flows from an abundance, immeasurable, and incomparable to anything this world can offer.  

In everyday life, we understand paying our debts and obligations.  Most service providers have a stated “grace period” for satisfying a debt. That stated time frame is a limited window, i.e., ten days, two weeks, or maybe a month. However, there is always an end.  God’s grace has no termination date because His nature is eternal.  He does not run out of grace reserves, because grace flows from his infinite being.

Does God call us to righteousness or to be in right-standing with Him?  Absolutely!  He calls every follower of Christ to be holy (pure) as He is Holy.  Grace does not give us an excuse to do whatever we choose to do without suffering the consequences.  The reality is that we can choose our sin, but we cannot choose our consequences.  

Grace is an action that proceeds from God’s love, and it embraces mercy along the way. Mercy’s definition is “assuming the need on the part of him who is to receive it.” In other words, grace is always demonstrable.  God demonstrated his love for us while we were still sinners.  He extended grace, “undeserved favor” and out of mercy, he assumed our need.  

The following piece was sent to me from a wonderful friend.  Her deceased husband (Pastor Wayne Coggins) was a man who understood God’s precious grace and he modeled and extended it to thousands of people.  When you encountered Pastor Wayne, you knew that you were loved and accepted, including all your imperfections. He taught righteousness (right standing) with God, and he understood that righteousness was only possible because of God’s grace.

Grace Bats Last:
My sin had filled the error squares on the game card of my life.  With heaven requiring a perfect score fear stabbed me like a knife.  My bases were loaded with good works that filled each one, all my ceremony and sacrifice piling with other things I’ve done.

Destiny signaled me to the plate. I had to give it one more try.  I had to do something that would last, to win God’s approval before I die.  But I hadn’t done enough for God!  I would miss that heavenly throng!   I had failed to do things properly and my reasons were all wrong!

I had made such a mess of my pitiful life, all the time I thought how to rebel, and now I’ve come to my last “At Bat.” Deserving of nothing but a loser’s hell.

But if I could just take the swing, that would bring my runner home.  I’d win the game of life at last and show God what I have done.

But I’m 3 runs back in the final inning.  Two outs, full count, and one more try.  If I could just hit that homer and “walk-off” before I die…

But just before that fateful swing, my eternity on the line, a shout came from the Dug Out and the shouted name was mine.

I stopped just before I would have swung.  Risking eternity on a final swing of fate, when Jesus said, “I’m Pinch Hitting here” and carried a rugged bat to the plate. Then he looked at the wood and said to all, “Remember what you behold this day!” As He gripped the cross with nail-pierced hands crying, “it is finished!” And swung away.

So, no matter how you’ve played the game, the truth to those in Christ revealed: that there’ll be  great joy in heaven as you walk with Jesus from the field.

Don’t worry as contrary winds prevail, for all hope of heaven can be securely cast on the One Who will always bring you home:  for with God, GRACE ALWAYS BATS LAST!
By Norm Olson

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