Ephesians 2:4-5 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.
‘There but for the grace of God, go I’ was one of John Wesley’s sayings. It was his way of expressing thankfulness to God for mercy, whilst at the same time realizing his own human weaknesses. If it wasn’t for God’s grace, John Wesley felt that he would have been overcome by all sorts of evil and sin.
Recently, I visited with the AA group that meets in our church. My usual Bible study had been cancelled, so I took the opportunity to make a house-call amongst the Twelve Steppers. It brought back memories to me and, as I sat there, I inwardly thanked God for His power and influence over me which kept me from remaining a hopeless alcoholic.
It was also good to see other men who had traveled that road, too. I admired their courage and knew of the struggles they described. It was a really good meeting and the Twelve Steppers are very supportive. None of them are judgmental; and all of them, including myself, began their sharing with the words: “Hello, my name is …., and I’m an alcoholic.”
But the grace of God just isn’t for alcoholics. It’s for all of us. It’s for the busy mother who is worn out looking after her children. It’s for the harassed worker who is trying to meet an urgent deadline. It’s for the school teacher who tries each week to inspire her students to learn something new. It’s for the teenager who is struggling with peer pressure, who wants to do what is right. And it’s for the senior who sees the world changing faster than ever and wonders where the good old days have gone.
The grace of God is for each of us. As human beings we are weak, frail, prone to temptation and apt to sin. No matter who we are or what we’ve done, we all need the grace of God to grant us that divine opportunity to begin again, to take a step in the right direction, and to be lovingly embraced by God. In other words, our lives are rescued from the messes that we create through the love, mercy, and grace of God in Jesus Christ our Lord.
So no matter who you are today or what you’ve done in the past, receive a new beginning through the gracious love of God.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, we make mistakes in our lives that negatively affect our relationships, spoil our dreams, and sometimes destroy our hopes. We come to You, seeking Your grace to give us the opportunity to begin again and start anew. We know that we don’t deserve this, but that’s why You call it ‘grace.’ Be with us and love us. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.
John Stuart is the pastor at Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment on today’s message, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.