November. Grace.

The warm golden light washes over the last of the busy day. The air cools quickly as the sun draws closer to the western horizon and the long shadows deepen. The low orange glow sets the grass and shrubs alive with vivid detail and stunning beauty. The only sound is the clicking of my camera’s shutter as I capture the scene before me.

November sunsets. They are like grace. They change things. They bring to life things that are dead and bring into existence things that do not exist. Like the grace of God in Rom 4:17.

In the mid-day sun, or in the typical grey November dreariness, the grass is brown and dead; easy to overlook and undeserving of a second glance, let alone a click of my shutter. The low-lying setting sun changes it completely. and brings death to life.

Grace is the difference.

Grace. It is such a loose, oft used Christian word. I wonder if we really know what it means. The common descriptions I’ve heard are ‘unearned favor’, and ‘free gift of God’. Though these are certainly true, I have never found them very helpful to grasp this key Christian truth.

I once heard a definition of grace that has really helped me to understand more of it’s full depth. I don’t remember the source, but the explanation was something like this: Grace is the free and sovereign work of God to do for me what I cannot do for myself, even when I don’t deserve it.

So yes, it is a free gift of God, it is unearned favor, but it is so much more. It’s God doing for me what I can’t do for myself. It’s God pouring out His love and favor upon me even when I don’t deserve it.

I’ve been reading in the Book of Romans and as I ponder grace, some verses come to mind as to what grace looks like – how it is demonstrated. The idea is of the before and after work of grace in a person – the before and after Christ; the lost vs. saved contrast. They are:

For while we were still weak, at the right time, Christ died for the ungodly.” Rom. 5:6 Here is the “God doing for me what I couldn’t do for myself” part of grace.

but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Rom 5:8

“.…while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son…..” Rom 5:10 And these are the “even when we don’t deserve it” part of grace. And all of grace is the sovereign work of God through Christ’s life and death for us, you and me – sinners, ungodly, dead, and enemies of our Creator, the One who gives us life and breath and all things.

Before we are saved, we are like the November grass in the noon-day light – dead, hopelessly dead, and dried up (‘separated from Christ…having no hope and without God in the world.” Eph. 2:12). But when grace pours in like the warm golden light of a November sunset, it covers the death and makes alive, gives depth and beauty where there was none.

It’s all grace. It leaves us completely changed.

It’s all the work of a sovereign and good God. It’s all rooted in love and it’s free. We can’t do it, or anything that even comes close, on our own. And we do not deserve the glories that grace abounds us – both here in this life, and even more so, in the life to come. But it is ours, in Christ. That is grace.

Have you received this grace unto salvation? Thank Him! If you haven’t, ask Him! “For everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.” Rom. 10:13

But God being rich in mercy because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved.” Eph. 2:4-5

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