We are excited to announce the release of Mosaic of Grace, by James Prescott, one of our Multiply Goodness bloggers. It’s available on Amazon. You will love his thoughts on Grace below. Congratulations, James!!
Grace is a subject which rarely gets discussed, precious few sermons are on the theme of grace. We barely spend any time exploring it. That’s one reason I wrote my book, ‘Mosaic Of Grace’ – because this is a subject which needs more people talking about it.
Yet this lack of discussion around grace is a huge paradox. Because grace is not only fundamental to our view of God, how we do church, and how we relate to God and others – it’s the beginning of everything. Richard Rohr said recently, ‘God is Grace’. That’s how important grad is. Grace is scandalous, it’s unfair even, but it’s where everything begins.
Grace confronts the truth. The truth of who God is, and the truth of who we are. Grace is like a flashlight to our soul, it exposes the truths we try to hide, and the truths too scandalous to believe.
And the truth which seems scandalous for us to believe is about our value. Our worth.
Grace is the truth that we are all enough as we are.
Grace is the reality that we all belong, as we are.
Grace says we are all unconditionally loved and accepted, as we are.
When Jesus is baptised, God tells Him is He is beloved son, and well pleased with Him.
But what has Jesus done? He has no disciples or followers. He hasn’t preached. He’s not healed anyone. But God says He is beloved, and that He’s pleased with Him then.
This is hugely significant. This is in the Bible to tell us that God doesn’t love us based on what we do, what we believe, how we live, what choices we make, what we achieve, or our status. No. God says we are His beloved, and He is pleased with us.
As. We. Are.
This truth is scandalous. But it is grace.
And this tells us about who God is. That He is not one of condemnation or fear. He’s not the distant God ready to send us to hell. But an intimate, loving God who loves every single one of us unconditionally, as we are and invites all of us to join with Him…it’s up to us, whether we do or not.
Grace also confronts the truths we try to hide. It has an edge, which cuts us open, and exposes the darkness in us.
When Jesus meets the woman caught in adultery, whom Pharisees are trying to get Him to condemn, to trap Him, we see this in action.
This woman is exposed. The whole world knows what she has done. The darkness she tries to hide has the light shining on it. Now the God many people talk about – and the God we see in some of the Christian church – would shout down judgement and condemnation unless the woman repents.
But Jesus doesn’t do this.
Jesus tells the woman “I do not condemn you”.
And notice one key thing which doesn’t happen. The woman doesn’t repent. She doesn’t ask for forgiveness. She doesn’t promise to live a changed life. But Jesus says “I do not condemn you”.
This is amazing grace. Jesus saying to a woman caught in her darkness, that she is enough. She is not condemned, She is not excluded. She is loved, welcomed, forgiven and accepted – as she is.
The choice of whether to repent, to ask forgiveness, and live a changed life, is a choice about whether to receive what is already true.
And we never find out what she does. Jesus tells her, to “go, and sin no more”. But we never know what she does.
Does she receive Jesus grace, ask forgiveness, and turn her life around?
Or does she continue on the path she was on before?
We don’t know. And I think there’s a reason for this. Because this is the choice Jesus presents to us. He has seen all our darkness, our disconnect from Him, all the ways we live outside the shalom He has for us.
Then Jesus says to us “I do not condemn you. Go and sin no more”.
He shows us grace. He leaves it to us.
When we choose to receive grace, we are receiving a gift which has been ours all along. We are choosing to believe we are enough, loved, and accepted as we are – not for what we have done, good or bad. We are choosing to receive the gift of love and forgiveness God has for us and live a transformed life.
We are choosing a transformed life.
And we are choosing a God of infinite, unconditional love, mercy, justice and grace. Not one of judgement.
So today, choose to believe you are enough. Choose to believe you are beloved. Choose to believe you are not condemned, but loved unconditionally as you are.