Amazed by Grace

And all the assembly fell silent, and they listened to Barnabas and Paul as they related what signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles. (Acts 15:12)

The words are familiar: “Amazing grace! How sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me …" The melody is easily recognized in the first few notes, whether played on the bagpipes, on a pipe organ, or by a worship band. We gladly sing of His grace, but I wonder how often the words make it past our ears to our heart. How often do we pause to consider the magnitude of grace?

We get involved in doing church, in being a Christian, in keeping rules, in checking boxes off the task list; and we begin to rely on what we’re doing more than what He has done. We begin to drift from the wonder of His grace, and the adversary slips in. That’s what we see in Acts 15.
There were those in the church at Jerusalem who had begun to pick up the law again and try to mix it with their faith. These Judaizers decide to take a road trip to Antioch where Paul and Barnabas are preaching the gospel of grace. And there the debate begins concerning the law and grace and works and rituals. This is a critical point in the life of the early church.

This was no small debate. Eventually, Paul and Barnabas make their way from Antioch to Jerusalem where the debate with the Judaizers is renewed before the apostles and the elders of the church (Acts 15:4-6). Lines were drawn. Sides were taken. Voices were raised over each other.
 
And then the loud voices of debate fall silent as Paul and Barnabas begin to recount for them that which they had seen and experienced as the Gentiles responded to the gospel of grace. May I suggest they were in that moment amazed by His grace? As their attention was drawn back to His grace, they were of one accord with James as he concluded that grace alone is enough.

If you find yourself relying on what you are doing instead of, or in addition to, what He has done, today is a good day to reflect on His grace. To take some time to recount for yourself all the ways in which He has bestowed His grace on your life. Rest in the knowledge that His grace alone is enough and be set free to live a grace-filled life.

By Jesse Smith

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