thankful Thursday: grace

Thursday, February 26, 2015

I look out at the yard blanketed with snow and can't help but think, "He washed me white as snow." 

"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." 
written by Julia H. Johnston, 1910

I get to not only live but have an abundant life through the grace of Jesus. Romans 5:8 says, "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." I can't do anything right on my own. I could never earn my way into Heaven. Even on my best day, I'm still a sinner. Even when I do something "right," I immediately pat myself on the back for it. We are all selfishly motivated. Everyone sins (Romans 3:23); not one of us can measure up to God's standards. 

But here's the switch: though I deserve death, He gives me life. Romans 6:23 says, "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." He loves us enough that He paid the price for our sins on the cross, going through hell for us, and He gives us the benefit of the perfect life He lived: eternal life. 

By faith, we can access his grace (Romans 5:2). Thanks be to God! For He gives us the victory (1 Corinthians 15: 56-57). 

As with most aspects of the gospel, I am learning, grace is essential in marriage. I just finished reading The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller. He writes, 

How do you get the power of grace? You can't create this power; you can only reflect it to others if you have received it. If you see Jesus dying on the cross for others, forgiving the people who killed him, that can be just a crushing example of forgiving love that you will never be able to live up to. But if instead you see Jesus dying on the cross for you, forgiving you, putting away your sin, that changes everything. He saw your heart to the bottom but loved you to the skies. And the joy and freedom that comes from knowing that the Son of God did that for you enables you to do the same for your spouse. It gives you both the emotional humility and wealth to exercise the power of grace. (185-186)

Zack and I need the grace of God every day, and thereby, we give grace to each other. 

I know it is by God's grace that I have Zack in my life at all. I remember Ashley Gorman speaking about her husband and how he is a gift from God last year. She said that she doesn't deserve her husband, but God, by his grace, gave her her husband. I didn't quite understand that at the time, or maybe I just didn't believe that God would show me that same kind of grace. I did not earn Zack because I dated God's way 100% of the time or because I did good works to please God. I did not earn Zack at all. In God's infinite grace, for his glory, He gave me Zack.

God could have chosen a completely different way to work in our lives, and it still would have been his grace at work. Some things begin to make sense as time goes on, and some things we won't understand until this earthly life is over. For now, I am thankful for my salvation through God's grace and for the chance to walk through life with the one I love. I am thankful that our story doesn't end here. 

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