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Today at Covenant…Sola Gratia

It was a bit rough getting up and out the door this morning as snow began to fall and stick to the ground for the first time this season. The thought of venturing out into the blustery wind and giant snowflakes made me want to pull the blanket back over my head and spend this Sunday in bed.

However, I looked forward to hearing about grace today from Pastor Travis at Covenant Church. I felt the need for some grace in my life. If we are all honest grace is necessary every single moment of every single day. So at around eight this morning I awoke the rest of the family and we began our weekly ritual of manically trying to get ready at the same time. Some weeks that’s a bigger struggle than others. Today it was a struggle.

I’m so glad that I finally found my motivation to get out the door because God was speaking today. Below is a synopsis of today’s teaching from Pastor Travis Davenport at Covenant Church in Grove City. For more information about Covenant Church check out the link.

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Sola Gratia:

The focus scripture for today’s sermon was Romans 3:10-12; 23-24

10 As it is written:

“There is no one righteous, not even one;
11     there is no one who understands;
    there is no one who seeks God.
12 All have turned away,
    they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good,
    not even one.”[b]

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

In Latin, Sola Gratia represents the ideas that grace alone justifies us before God. The first portion of the scripture above seems like bad news. No one is good not even one. And no matter what we do or how hard we work we can never do enough to earn for ourselves the title “Good.” By those standards even the best among us can never achieve goodness. That’s bad news, right?

Wrong! Verses 11 and 12 are not meant to be read in isolation. Because on their own they do declare the reality that we could never do enough to earn our salvation. These verses were meant to be examined in the light of verses 23 and 24. This is where the good news come into play.

Because we are all naturally sinners we can only be justified by grace. Grace changes everything.

What is grace? Grace is the unmerited favor of God and the Good News of grace is defined in Ephesians 2:8-9:

 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.

Along with the Good News of salvation presented in these verses comes the good news that it’s not about us. So often we can become focused on what we can do to earn our salvation or God’s love. But, there is nothing we can do to make God love us any more or any less. He sees us through a lens of grace and all of our efforts to be “good” are futile as a result.

So get rid of the notion that if you would only _____ (fill in the blank) that God would love you more. His love is not conditional upon your acts or your works. We can do nothing to earn grace all we can do is accept it.

And for those of you who are making excuses for why God would never accept you please understand that it’s never been about you. He isn’t waiting for you to “clean up” or “get  your act together.” You would never take a bath in preparation for a shower. In the same way God isn’t waiting for you to get yourself together before offering you grace. Your grace has already been paid for in full and God is waiting for you to accept it. God expects you to show up dirty, bloody, and broken. Let Him clean you up and fix you. That’s the beauty of grace.

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