I often marvel at Jesus' ability to see the heart, the intent and the thoughts of the person in front of Him. This ability, a unique characteristic of God, was prevalent in the Old Testament as well. For example, when Samuel searched for the next king after Saul, The Lord told him 'Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.' (1 Samuel 16:7)

Jesus really saw them, saw who they were and what they were thirsting for. He saw their quest. With those who humbly and genuinely searched the truth, He graced them with His time, His knowledge, His healing, His love. He could judge their humility in 'real-time' and dispense Grace to those who needed it.

There are too many examples of Jesus seeing people truly as they were: naked, desperate, sick, humiliated, curious, empty, hungry, thirsty. 

Of them: the disciples at their calling, Nicodemus, the Samaritan woman at the well, the centurion, the thousands of followers and the multitudes, the widow of Nain, Jairus, Peter on the water, the Gentile woman, the blind man in Bethsaida, the adulterous woman, Mary and Martha, Zacchaeus, the paralytic lowered from the roof, Lazarus, the one leper who came back, the rich young ruler, the blind man near Jericho, all of Jerusalem, the thief on the cross, the weeping women at the cross, Mary Magdalene at the tomb, the disciples at His appearing, etc.

One particular telling example is the forgiven woman, told in Luke 7:36-50. Simon, the Pharisee, saw what we would have seen: uncleanness, sin, a wasted life. Jesus saw the worth of her soul, the warmth of her sacrifice, the willingness of her service which brought her to the withdrawal of her sin. Ironically, Simon did not realize the depth of his own sin and his lack of love resulted in a lack of appreciation of God's forgiveness.

There were unfortunately ample 'Simons' in His time. Jesus saw hardened hearts and pride in those who seeked only to discredit Him, hurt Him, discount Him, trap Him, kill Him. He could see their insidious intentions and was often able to respond in kind (link to Pharisees). 

Of them: the Devil, the Pharisees, the scribes, the Sadduceens, Judas, the moneychangers in the temple, the followers who wanted more signs. 

So what about me ? It's great to see Jesus' ability in action, but how can I emulate Him ? This strange person in front of me: what is the intent ? the heart ? the thoughts ?

Here's what I discovered was the way to get to know them:
  1. Find the time to be completely available
  2. Ask open-ended questions
  3. Listen intently to their answers
  4. Repeat to make sure I understand
  5. Admit I don't know the solution
  6. Listen to them some more
  7. Connect with their emotion, no matter how irrational it sounds
  8. Genuinely care
  9. ... And did I mention listening ?

Are they frustrated, irritated, overwhelmed, doubting, dissapointed, searching, discouraged, angry, worried, insecure, carrying guilt, unworthy, desperate, fearful, powerless ?

Why ? and how can I listen more ?

It's at that point that Jesus gave Grace. And it's only then that I can give Grace.

A common yet erronneous thought about Grace is that is 'easier' than the Law that Moses was given. We tend to think that since we are given unmerited favour, we have a larger freedom of action than those poor souls who had the Mosaic Law. We hear quotes like 'Thank God, we are under Grace and not the Law, so I can do this anyway' or 'The Law isn't important, we have Grace now, so be free'. Without explicitely saying it, we promote a certain laxism towards the principles God gives us, simply because of what we think Grace does for us.

We could not be more wrong.

In Matthew 5, while in the midst of the Sermon on the Mount, Christ exposed that lie by showing how Grace digs much deeper than the Law. 
- Under the law, I would be a murderer if I took a life. Under Grace, I am a murderer if I hate my neighbour and verbally abuse him.
- Under the law, I was an adulterer if have sexual relations outside of marriage. Under Grace, I am an adulterer if I covet and desire to do so.

Under the law, my actions determined how good I was. Under Grace, my motives, my intent and my heart are what defines me. Grace penetrates the deepest recesses of my soul and my secret thoughts. Grace is about who I am inside, not what I do on the outside.

The Forerunner Commentary aptly wrote 'Men's governments deal with the end of the act, Christ deals with the beginning. Jesus changed the law's restraint from the act to the motive. For the Christian, merely abstaining from the act is not sufficient. Jesus imposes the positive obligation of the spirit of the law on him. He seeks to prevent crimes of violence by rooting out the attitudes and drives in a person's character that make him kill. The New Covenant law searches the heart without doing away with the Old Covenant letter.'

The bar is much higher with Grace. But the good news is that Grace empowers us to clear that bar. And the pleasure is fuller and the glory of it... eternal.
Growing up, I had a distorted, warped view of Grace. The journey described on this site is my way back.

I knew Grace as the source of my justification. I was made righteous by the cleansing blood of the Lamb who sacrificed Himself for me and paid my debt of sin. After being justified, I never really thought about Grace again. 

That is why the following text seemed like it was written just for me. In 2003, Jerry Bridges wrote an article in Modern Reformation Magazine called Gospel-Driven Sanctification

Jerry has gone through the same thought process I am now going through and his conclusions have helped me see how I need Grace so desperately in my daily walk, long after the initial experience of Grace. That is why I found so many verses where Grace was at the source of sanctifying characteristics.

Jerry is known for authoring the wonderful and life-changing phrase: "preach the gospel to yourself everyday." It then becomes clear: God's grace saves; God's grace sanctifies; God's grace glorifies.

You can download the article here or read it below.

Thank you Jerry for putting words to my journey.
One of the most dramatic expressions of Grace is Forgiveness. When I am forgiven, the rain of Grace quenches the depths of my inadequacies and fills me with immeasurable hope. 

But when it is I that should forgive another, help another who has deeply wronged me to feel that same grace and hope, I simply don't know how. I often feel that the wound is too deep, to important. I desire to forgive but I have problems forgetting and trusting.

So what is forgiveness ? How do I dispense Grace when I forgive ? Should I pretend as if nothing ever happened ? If so, how do I protect myself from it happening again ?

That's why this video speaks volumes to me. It is an excerpt from The Lord's Prayer series by Mark Driscoll at the Mars Hill Church Ballard campus in Seattle, Washington on September 19, 2010. It lists 10 things that forgiveness is NOT.

Here they are in order. Forgiveness is NOT:
1. Approving or diminishing
2. Enabling sin
3. Denying a wrongdoing
4. Waiting for an apology
5. Forgetting
6. Ceasing to feel the pain
7. A one time event
8. Neglecting justice
9. Trusting
10. Reconciliation

This has helped me apply Grace, as well as Truth, in understanding how I am forgiven, as well as how I should forgive others.
I believe transmitting God's Grace to the next generation is the most important priority a parent can have. It is also the most difficult. How do I teach them about God's amazing gift to us ? How do I remain consistent in balancing Truth and Grace in my kids' education ? 

Enter Deuteronomy 6:20-27. God tells Moses how to address His sacred legacy, Grace and Truth. From the paraphrased version The Message (in italics):

The next time your child asks you, "What do these requirements and regulations and rules that God, our God, has commanded mean?" 
GG: When my kids ask why I believe what I believe, why I want to obey God...

tell your child, "We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt and God powerfully intervened and got us out of that country. 
GG: I remind them of my initial state and what God's Grace did for me...

We stood there and watched as God delivered miracle-signs, great wonders, and evil-visitations on Egypt, on Pharaoh and his household. 
GG: I did nothing to earn His miraculous and wonderful Grace. God did it all, and it was beautiful...

He pulled us out of there so he could bring us here and give us the land he so solemnly promised to our ancestors. 
GG: I remind myself where I was and to where I have been led, as wel as how He is faithful to His promises...

That's why God commanded us to follow all these rules, so that we would live reverently before God, our God, as he gives us this good life, keeping us alive for a long time to come. "It will be a set-right and put-together life for us if we make sure that we do this entire commandment in the Presence of God, our God, just as he commanded us to do."
GG: And because of the inexplicable Grace God has given me, I will obey Him, live reverently before Him, thankful of the good life He has provided for me.

It's Grace. And that, kids, is why I obey God's Truth.
In this interesting clip, John Bevere focuses on the empowering role that Grace has in our lives. Grace saves... and it sustains and perfects too.

This is something I did not fully grasp until I started on this website. I knew of saving Grace, but I see that Grace is actually the source of all these things in my life. It is therefore the power that makes it all possible. Not my own deeds or worth, but Grace.
When I reflect on everything I have learnt on Grace, I can't help but simply admire the beauty of it all. It's like a breathtaking colorful sunset over a lush natural landscape. 

It just makes me go 'WOW'. I hope to keep being wowed by Grace till the day I die.

Krystal Meyers sings of this beauty.

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