What’s Another Word for Grace?
The truck barely cleared the railroad crossing when a fast train whisked immediately behind it. Dad, the driver and only passenger, knew this was incredibly close! Once again, he heard God speak clearly. Grace’s invitation into the Kingdom was real.
Years earlier at the age of nine, God had spoken. His grandpa had just left this world. In his grandparents’ home, the sheet had just been pulled over his grandfather’s lifeless form. The family sat in grief. His grandmother looked at those sitting there. “Pa’s listening to the angels sing!” she said.
In that moment, deep inside this young guy’s being, he heard the Master’s call. He was aware at that age of wrongdoing in his life. He knew he needed to confess it all and allow the One speaking to become his Savior. He resisted the voice. Twenty-five years later on the last night of the special series of services in the church in New Albany, Indiana, sin-sick and convicted in the deep of his being, he at last said “Yes” to the incredible grace of God that makes one new in Christ!
Life Made New
A ‘new creation in Christ’. For Dad, indeed “old things passed away . . . all things became new” (2 Cor 5:17). The sun shone more brightly, the birds sang sweeter, the world was a different place! Dad’s life was captivated by an enchanting new vision. Within a few years he knew within him that God had called him to proclaim the Good News.
Before that life-changing night, Dad lived his own way, rejected the Master’s grace call, and knew sin to be an unrelenting taskmaster. His life was ‘un-whole’, spiritually sick. November 21, 1951 the strong grace of God became to him wholeness, life, liberation. From that night he never looked back. He had no desire to ever be enchained again. Forward from that threshold into regenerating grace, Dad enjoyed the life of graced freedom. From my observation, Dad enjoyed life. And at the heart of his enjoyment was the new life he found in His Savior! Grace through him became contagious!
The change brought for him meaning and significance at the deepest level of life. From that time forward offers to him from the enemy were shoddy; they could not come close to the treasure he had discovered.
The Scriptures for Dad came alive. He found meaning he had not seen before. He found a life anchor. The same Spirit who inspired the holy Scriptures made them alive to him for his quest for Christ-like living. This was another aspect of his newfound treasure. No other book carried this message in this way. Now something resonated from those pages of text right to his inner being.
I know there are myriads of stories of the ‘grace 180’. Authentic birth, new birth through the operation of God’s Spirit, is a story to be told in every such episode. In such a time as ours, may we recount out of Dad’s story, and scores of others, some basics of spiritual reality as through the moves of the grace of God, members of our human family are brought to spiritual life and wholeness?
- Over this universe is an incredibly faithful Sovereign Father.
- He speaks, through numerous venues; whatever way it is experienced, His Holy Spirit does His awesome work. In the ‘grace that goes before’ (prevenient grace) He pursues our lives, convinces of sin, of evil, of judgment . . . and sets forth the offer of new life in the Savior! (see John 16:8-11).
- Opening the heart door of the convicted inner being, brings the Answer—the one that’s beyond human power to achieve! Stepping across the threshold brings the change of a lifetime!
- The ‘grace that goes before’ becomes justifying (guilt removing), regenerating (new life), adopting (new family) grace. It’s quite a moment when the grace Grantor makes it all happen in the human soul!
- There’s a life-flow in and through the holy Scriptures. The person made new in Christ experiences what inspiration through God’s own Spirit really means—from the text, right in life!
- The liberated life takes on meaning, significance—wholeness—for the journey here and that beyond the grave.
What’s Another Word for Grace?
I still call it wholeness!
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 John Wesley wrote, “. . . scripture can only be understood thro’ the same Spirit whereby it was given”. “Preface to the Old Testament Notes,” Explanatory Notes on the Old Testament (Edinburgh, 1765). Accessed 29 April 2017 at: http://wesley.nnu.edu/john-wesley/john-wesleys-notes-on-the-bible/preface-to-the-old-testament-notes/