2020 Religion Column Art

Let’s talk about grace. The word translated “grace” in the New Testament comes from the Greek word charis, which means “favor, blessing, or kindness.”

As Paul writes in Romans 3 we receive righteousness through faith, which is a reflection of God’s grace. We spend a lot of time tossing around Romans 3:23, and if we are not careful we might cover up the context of that verse. Yes, all have sinned, and we do fall short of the glory of God, but praise God there is another “and.” Verse 24 continues Paul’s thought. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (Romans 3:24 Berean Study Bible).

I think sometimes we settle in the negative of who we feel we are. Sinners. Holy Hallelujah, Resurrection People, can we now settle in the concept that we are justified freely by grace? As the old hymn reminds us: Grace that will pardon and cleanse within; Grace, grace, God’s grace, Grace that is greater than all our sin (Julia H. Johnston, The UM Hymnal, No. 365).

The hope continues to flow out of Paul’s letter to the Christians in Rome. God presented Him (Jesus) as the atoning sacrifice through faith in his blood, in order to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had passed over the sins committed beforehand (Romans 3:25). The Greek word forbearance (anoché) means suspense or delay (of punishment); patience. This is our God! This is the Hallelujah that rises out of Easter morning and extends to us today. This is the hope of tomorrow. Now that Easter morning has come and gone, we need something to help us hold on to the hope that is found in grace.

What are your faith plans now as we move forward to the stories of “Doubting Thomas?” How does your faith walk with God’s grace? Might we hold on to Jesus’ last statement on the cross — “It is finished”? The transliteration from the Greek is teleó which means to bring to an end, complete, fulfill. Jesus was using it to say, “I end.” “I fulfill.” “I accomplish.” “I pay.” That he did — for us. That is grace beyond our understanding. God’s grace abounds in us as Easter People!

Pastor Kim Mitchell

First United Methodist Church

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