Have you ever experienced severe discipline for an offence? I often reflect on my mid-20th century adolescent experience, especially when I received harsh corporal punishment for various offences. Did I receive what I deserved? Sometimes, but not always ― however, any perceived disregard or disobedience of traditional rules was punishable without any plea or recourse on my part.
In retrospect, I realize grace cannot thrive in such a legalistic, unpardonable, environment because no unmerited favor could override the unavoidable consequence of my disobedience.
In Ephesians, Paul recognizes that the Mosaic Law cannot save us — and we cannot earn salvation through human action or accomplishment. It is God’s gift, through faith in Jesus. Paul reminds us that we are the benefactors of God’s unmerited favor ― saved by grace. We did nothing to earn our salvation. This implores us to remain spiritually humble by avoiding personal boasting, because everyone, regardless of power or position, stands equally without plea or recourse, before Calvary’s cross. Believers receive God’s gift of grace, thus averting what the law says we deserve.
God’s grace is a costly grace and comes with a costly choice. As unworthy recipients of God’s unmerited favor, how can we practically and obediently pay it forward? By humbly allowing grace to permeate our hearts and minds, and by avoiding discrimination, condemnation, and arrogance. Impart unmerited favor on those who offend us — not because they deserve it, but because they are the unworthy co-recipients of the same unearned and undeserved gift of grace that God freely imparted to us.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your unwaverable undeserved favor. Create in me a posture of perpetual grace. Help me to extend unmerited favour to those who have offended me – emulating your heart by freely reflecting the same grace you consistently extend to me. May your grace permeate every aspect of my life, keep my eyes on you, and keep me spiritually humble. In Jesus' name, amen.
Go Deeper ― As you begin your day, contemplate unmerited favor in your life and how it would affect those within your sphere of influence. Write down their names and pray that God will use you to emulate unmerited favor in your daily interactions and relationships.
Photo Credit: Kien Do