By Walt Wiltschek (Pastor at the Easton Church of the Brethren (MD) and at-large editor of Messenger magazine)
Ephesians 2:1-10 “…it is by grace you have been saved through faith…”
One of my favorite Southern sayings is, “Grace is like grits. It just comes.” And it’s true. When we used to travel to visit my relatives in Texas, if you stopped in somewhere for breakfast—and sometimes for other meals—you would find a pile of grits on your plate when it arrived. It usually didn’t matter whether or not you had ordered them. They just appeared. It’s like a “lagniappe” in New Orleans: a bonus gift that comes unexpectedly with your purchase.
In Ephesians, Paul tells the church that God’s gift of grace comes much the same way. They didn’t deserve such a grand gift. They had screwed up. They had disobeyed. They had made mistakes. But God loved them anyhow. And because of God’s grace through Jesus Christ, they had been saved from all of that—not because of anything they had done to earn it, but simply because they were “God’s handiwork.” And for those who accept that, the grace just comes.
Good News: How do you come up with any better news than the gift of God’s grace? Ask forgiveness for the places and times that you’ve screwed up, and experience it for yourself.
Discussion Question: Take a look at the lyrics of the hymn “Amazing Grace” by John Newton. Are there any verses or phrases that particularly grab you? Why? Are there parts you still wonder about?
Go one step further: Check out a video of Chris Tomlin’s contemporary take on the hymn “Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone).” You can find one set to some beautiful scenery below. Soak in the words. What does grace mean to you?