For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith —and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8)
Thought for the day:
A core belief in the United Methodist expression of Christianity from the beginning is that, God saves sinners through grace. Some of us say that God is the active force in salvation by providing such overwhelming grace that none of us can escape it. Others will insist that the individual is the active force in salvation by choosing to accept God’s grace. In reality, it takes both God’s good work and our accepting responsibility for our actions. The very nature of grace maintains that we cannot do anything to earn salvation, but grace, being the gift from God that it is, continues to encourage us to respond to it.
We often have trouble with grace because we have been taught that “if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is not true,” which is where the word “indebtedness” comes into play. I am sure that we are all quite familiar with “indebtedness,” and though it appears to be a negative term, it is also a very comfortable term as fewer and fewer Americans know life outside of debt. A dominant philosophy in society used to be that if something was worth having, it was worth waiting for. That philosophy evolved and now claims that if something is worth having, it is worth going into debt for. For the vast majority of Americans, the by-product of a brand new car is the payment that accompanies it. The by-product of a home is the mortgage. To the vast majority of Christians the by-product of grace is gratitude.
Our personal stories of faith suggest that normalcy is professing the goodness of God while promoting the evil of unbelief. Our relationship with God is inhibited because we have so many impaired relationships and so much dysfunction in our lives and in our church. What appears to humanity as moral corruption or ingratitude is, in the eyes of John Wesley, termed as depravity. In other words, the problems we have today stem from being born into a world that fails to perform correctly because, even though God creates us good, we cannot escape the sin that surrounds us. The distance sin creates begins a human condition that continues to atrophy, useless to its intended purpose.
Grace indebtedness defies the reigning majority by listening, not to the “norms” of society, but to the Almighty God of heaven and earth. Grace indebtedness is wholeheartedly trusting in something that you cannot prove. It knows beyond the shadow of a doubt that love continues to exist, even when it makes absolutely no sense. Grace Indebtedness is a system of belief that commands life to be lived in gratitude regardless of the situation.
As you renew your journey in faith, know that I will be praying for you to reclaim gratitude to God for every circumstance.
Prayer for the day:
Dear Lord, You are so good! Thank you for all that You have blessed me with! Thank you for grace and for gratitude. Amen.