gratitude & hoopla: Grace-Kindled

gratitude & hoopla

"Nothing taken for granted; everything received with gratitude; everything passed on with grace." G. K. Chesterton

10.11.05

Grace-Kindled

I'm thinking about grace this morning. Nothing new there. Grace, the grace of God, is the undercurrent of this life. It is well, it is healthy, to meditate on God's grace.

The Greek word, as every Christian surely knows, is charis. I looked it up in Crosswalk's Greek Lexicon, and I found this:
1.a. that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness
Don't you like that? Makes you think of Philippians 4:8, doesn't it?
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
The second definition of charis was "good will, loving-kindness, favour." And then this:
of the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues
"Kindles them to the exercise of Christian virtues." That's a beautiful phrase, isn't it? And are you kindled? Am I kindled? And just what are these "Christian virtues" after all? Well, Galatians 5:22 provides a brief list:
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
These are the fruit of the Spirit, but it is as true to say that they are our response to the grace of God. Which leads us to the third definition of grace: "that which is due to grace."
a. the spiritual condition of one governed by the power of divine grace
b. the token or proof of grace, benefit
In Ephesians 1, which I've been reading and rereading for the past few days, Paul says over and over that the gifts of God are intended to result in "the praise of his glorious grace." Read it, and you'll see that everything about the plan and purpose of God is intended to result in praise. You will not have to stop and consider whether or not God should be praised. You will not have to worry that someone else might think you a little strange, a little over-the-top, a little "happy-clappy." You will not have to be careful that your theology is perfectly correct, you will simply respond to the awesome splendor of his grace with praise of the Gracious One.

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