Act of Grace. In the news lately you may have read about or seen the video of Brandt Jean’s extraordinary response to a convicted murderer – he hugged Amber Guyger as she was sentenced for killing his brother, Botham Jean. In court, Brandt Jean, 18, used his victim-impact statement to tell the court that despite what Guyger took from his family, if she is truly story for what she did, then he forgives her and wants the best for her. He stated “If you are truly sorry go to God and ask Him he will forgive you. The best would be to give your life to Christ. I think giving your life to Christ would be the best thing that Botham would want you to do.”
Embedded deep in the principle of love is the principle of grace and forgiveness. It is, at one and the same time: an expression of love. An evidence of love. That which enables the expression of love. Grace and forgiveness go hand in hand. They exist together. They operate together. Because God acts towards us in grace the sin barrier is removed from between him and us. This removal of the sin barrier is the fundamental meaning of forgiveness.
By God’s grace sin has been taken out of the way. It no longer stands in the way between God and the believer. It has been graced over by the death of Christ. It has been nailed to the cross of Christ, who paid its full penalty. Colossians 2:13-14 “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; blotting out the handwriting of ordinances what was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross.”
The same grace that reconciles us to God defines what our relationship with others should be: Ephesians 4:32 “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
The principle of grace and forgiveness is radically different from the basic principle of this world. The world, including its religions, operates by the principle of merit-you get what you deserve, either punishment or reward. And our own self-centered hearts have built-in bias to relate to God and to others by the same tit-for-tat principle of merit. But the principle of grace and forgiveness challenges us, calls us, commands us, to distance ourselves from all merit-based thoughts, attitudes and actions, and to extend to others the same grace and forgiveness that God has freely given to us in Jesus Christ our Lord.
How do I ask God to come into my life? Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior.
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, what whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”