April 19, 2018

Topic Day|Grace

Grace Is Not Just a Girl's Name.

Romans 5:20–21

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20 Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Grace Is Not Just a Girl's Name.

Bio | Jody Curran

I'm Jody, and I've been married to my incredible husband, Neil, for 54 years! We have two wonderful children and six grands!

We joined Watermark in 2011 after seeing what a truly first-century church looks like: "All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord's Supper), and to prayer." (Acts 2:42, NLT) We are encouraged by the folks of Watermark in their commitment, growth, and dedication. We've grown, too, and it's our joy to help and serve here and also in a ministry we founded to empower church leaders worldwide with vital resources and training.

Central Truth

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5, NLT)

Devotional | Grace

I was such a renegade earlier in my life. Rules were made for breaking. I used to say, "Sure, I'm a sinner, and I'm going to hell to be with all my friends." And that, sadly, was true until I...

I was such a renegade earlier in my life. Rules were made for breaking. I used to say, "Sure, I'm a sinner, and I'm going to hell to be with all my friends." And that, sadly, was true until I learned of "grace." My brother, the recently converted Jesus-follower, was sharing his faith with the family. During a crisis that he was helping me through, I took time to hear him.

He asked me if I knew anything about grace, and I replied, "Grace who?" 

"No, it's a Bible word about God. Let me show you a passage in the Bible that will help: '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 2:8-9, NIV)

He went on to explain that "grace" means "God's unmerited favor"—a gift received by "faith," which is putting your trust in Jesus. Jesus wasn't just a man. He is God, and His express purpose in coming to earth was to provide the ultimate sacrifice for our sins by giving His life on the cross. So, by trusting Him we could be made right with God.

"That's awful easy, isn't it?" I said.

"It wasn't easy for Him. But all you have to do is believe that Jesus was God, came to earth to live a perfect, sinless life, and was crucified for all our sins to make a path to heaven for us if you would believe and trust Him. And then to validate His claims Jesus rose from the dead to show He had power over death."  

Intrigued, we started visiting the church, and everything was vindicated in the sermons and the Bible. It wasn't long before I gave up going to hell with my friends and trusted Jesus. What a life change at 33 years old! Our rocky marriage started getting better; we had a new set of friends and a new purpose in life: loving and being loved by God, and sharing Jesus. All because of Amazing Grace!

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Discussion Questions

1. What does "grace" mean to you? Take a minute to write out your "grace" story in a five-minute testimony and share it with someone.

2. How do you extend grace to others?

To your spouse? _____________________________

To your family? ______________________________

To your neighbors? ___________________________

And to co-workers? ___________________________

3. Do you have a profound sense of gratitude for the grace you've been given? Share with someone a time when someone extended grace to you.

9 Comments available

Neil Curran 11 months ago

I love Jody’s commentary on Romans 5:20-21 today. She’s been an instrument and model of grace to me for 54 years. I grew up under a religious system, a modification of the old law. I knew what sin was. And I often, regularly sinned. I chose to sin. I wanted what I wanted when I wanted it. But even in my foolishness I know now God was gracious to me. I can reflect on times He kept me alive. (A car accident that could have happened at a foolish rate of speed…on a windjammer sailing ship, lifted by gale force winds and blown towards the open sea in the dark of night only to catch the ratlines and stop.) God had other plans for me. I’m thankful for His grace!

Brian Childers 11 months ago

Awesome devo, Jody! I, like you, did not understand Grace until I was in my 30’s. I believed Jesus was my Savior, but did not grasp Grace. I felt it was still on me for the final 20% to “earn Jesus’ approval”. I appreciate your devotional because I can relate to it so much. Press on!

Michael Scaman 11 months ago

Grace breaks down barriers

Perhaps the Ethiopian Eunuch realized he was double excluded from the house of God on multiple counts, not being a Jew, being a Eunuch.

Perhaps the Ethiopian Eunuch bough a scroll of Isaiah on his trip to Jerusalem and was reading it trying to figure it out. Perhaps he read the entire chapter of Isaiah on Ethiopians coming to Jerusalem to do homage in Is 18 as he was from there.

Perhaps after he read Isaiah 53:1-12 with Phillip the deacon and imaging the thrill the he felt when he read Isaiah 56:3-5 saw lots of grace breaking down large barriers for himself (in chapter 56 following 53)

Grace welcomes home

Michael Scaman 11 months ago

John Piper says God’s passion is God’s glory and near the apex of God’s glory is showing mercy and grace.

God gives grace in unexpected ways. God gives grace to restrain sometimes. God even gives common grace to all, sending rain on the righteous and unrighteous. God gives grace to other people to show us and soften our hearts.

One of my favorite grace and deliverance songs is the song the Ninevites sang after Jonah warned them to repent “I’m Free” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJdsM56ur-U

Michael Scaman 11 months ago

Grace was scandalous to Jonah who thought God was too prone to being dangerously merciful to Ninevites. Jonah saw mercy and grace even in God telling them to repent.

God was unexpectedly more merciful to people with sexual misconduct like Rahab, Gomer or the woman at the well. Grace teaches us to say no to sin in the book of Titus. Grace saves us to walk in good works.

Grace reached into some of the worse curses on mankind like the ground bearing thorns and death entered into the world where Jesus entered death and wore the crown of thorns. Grace showcased mercy when God limited the life of man to about 70 years with Noah and yet takes one childless man Abraham and in his aging years feeling the effect of that curse and blesses him so that all families will be blessed in his seed, Jesus.

Sue Bohlin 11 months ago

JODYYYYYY!! What a delight to see your beautiful smiling face this morning, you marvelous Titus 2 woman you! Thank you for your devo explaining not only the gospel but the impact of your brother’s invitation to grace as well. Grace > hell, for sure! Especially since there will be no partying with friends or anyone else in the horrible isolation of a place devoid of anything good.

Today I’m going to chew on the idea of “grace reigning.” What a delightful aspect of God’s kingdom! It reminds me of a customer’s comment in his Yelp review of our son Kevin’s cafe in San Francisco: “Walking into Saint Frank is like taking a hit of an anti-depressant.” Kingdom values (like light and life and people mattering more than coffee, even though coffee matters a lot) show us what “reigning grace” looks and feels like.

Hope Harris 11 months ago

Thoughts from others:

All sin can do is threaten us with death, and that’s the end of it. Grace…invites us into life—a life that goes on and on and on, world without end. (Romans 5:21 MSG)

The whole outlook changes - sin used to be the master of men and in the end handed them over to death: now grace is the ruling factor, with righteousness as its purpose and its end the bringing of men to the eternal life of God through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 5:20-21 Phillips Version)

Grace is the first and last word of the Gospel; and peace—perfect spiritual soundness—is the finished work of grace. (Expositors Greek Testament)

Thank you God, for the gift of grace today. May it abound in and through my life!

Lindsey Driscoll 11 months ago

Q2 - If I believe grace abounds all the more in Christ, how does that change the way I treat people. How does it affect my short temper, impatience, and my speech. Meditating on how acting on grace so grace might reign for the purpose of bringing others to eternal life 5:20.

Hugh Stephenson 11 months ago

Grace > Sin. No matter how much sin increases, grace increases more. There is no way for sin to catch up. Even so, I help sin give grace a run for its money.

If grace is getting what I don’t deserve then why don’t I always run to it and grab it?

Q2 - I’ll turn it around and ask - “When do I NOT extend grace to others?” I am embarrassed to say, “Whenever I am inconvenienced”. I am so self-centered that I think my time is really the most important thing. What I don’t admit is that my time pressures are a result of not making the schedule choices I should be making. I think I can squeeze it all in. This verse tells me grace gives me eternal life. An eternal perspective would give my task list a lot more meaning.

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