Grace can be a noun. It is a thing. It is the unmerited and undeserved blessings God grants to all men and women.
Grace can be used in an adjectival sense. As God grants rebellious men and women more than they deserve, God is showing himself to be gracious. This is one of his divine characteristics and communicable attributes.
Grace can be a verb. Just as a queen can “grace” one with her royal presence, so God and others can “adorn, embellish, or confer honor on someone.”
At Horizon Church, we have a gracious God. [Adjective] He is slow to anger, not quick to judge, kind, merciful, longsuffering, patient, and gracious. This is who he is.
At Horizon Church, we have received grace. [Noun] It started with common grace. It continued with redeeming grace. We are the most fortunate people in the world. We do not reap what we sow. We do not receive the consequences we deserve. We are a people never getting what we have earned. We are just fortunate friends gaining Jesus’ inheritance. We are a family transitioning from one expression of grace to grace. This is who we are and what we get.
At Horizon Church, all we do is grace people. [Verb] As God’s people, we are a family growing in the practice of godliness; we are getting better at reciprocating God’s grace. And how do we do this?
At Horizon Church, we grace people with deeds of kindness, charity, and love. We love being good neighbors and lending our facilities to those in the community. We see our assets as God’s gifts that flow through our hands. We are willing to spend our time and energy caring for the lonely, orphaned, widowed, under-fed, under-educated, under-skilled, under-employed, under-housed, under-represented, impoverished, homeless, and hopeless. We love showing compassion to the homeless, the stateless, the crying, the sighing, or the dying. Our hearts and hands go out to those used, abused, abandoned, addicted, endangered, trafficked, and imprisoned. In this regard, it does not matter to us what religious label our hurting neighbors might have. Whether Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, Jewish or Athiest, we long to bless them with God’s common grace. Neither does ethnicity come into play. Sure, black lives do matter, and so do brown, tan, white, and all other human hues. The same is said for one’s political bent — whether communist, socialist, moderate, right-leaning, Tea Party, independent, or “couldn’t care less,” we exist to serve all within our parish. We serve those single, celibate, promiscuous, straight, gay, or any of the other initials. Yes, God distributes common grace to all. Jesus loves it when we are friends to all sorts of sinners. He would have us give cups of cold water to all who are thirsty. Therefore, at Horizon Church, we are a family passionately interested in gracing others. But that’s not all …
At Horizon Church, we grace people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We know our sin nature and consequential sins. We are also very aware that all our neighbors are no different. There is none righteous — not us, not them. However, we also know the unfathomable grace of God the Father, Son, and Spirit towards sinners like us. All Three Persons are so merciful, gracious, and full of compassion. We have learned how Jesus went to work and earned a substitute holiness for men and women. He then went to work and received, on their behalf, the hell he did not deserve. Jesus did this for anyone who desires. He did it for anyone and everyone who repent, believe, and place their faith in him. All of these people, like us, they are made perfect, spotless, and blameless. They are saints of the Most High God. We can’t get enough of offering free grace like Jesus did to the very vile thief on the cross. He was a horrific sinner who, without works, went from perdition to paradise. This blotting out or obliteration of one’s sin-record happens faster than the blink of an eye. Wow! What great news! This we tell to ourselves every single week. This we preach and offer to all who walk in our doors or connect with us digitally. Therefore, at Horizon Church, we are a family loudly and proudly heralding God’s Gospel-grace to anyone and everyone. However, we are still not done gracing friends …
At Horizon Church, we grace people with the truth and wisdom of Jesus Christ. His laws, which formerly condemned us, now serve as guide-rails of worship. They point the way for our newly affected hearts to run. You see, as we are learning to trust God’s heart, we are also learning to trust his head. His ways are righteous and richly rewarding. They are enjoyable and often connected to blessing. With the Psalmist, we are learning to say, “Oh, how we love your law; we meditate on it day and night.” God’s worldview is logical and best. His precepts are not burdensome to us. We dismiss the lie of the devil that God is holding out on us. Instead, we love worshiping him and loving our neighbors in accordance with his divine direction. Sensing how much he loves us and wants that which is best for us, we continually seek to enjoy and glorify him by eating, drinking or whatever we do. So we – regularly and deeply – jump in God’s Word and swim in his wisdom. We consistently learn and persistently teach those who will listen how to worship, do church, thrive as men or women, practice sacred sex, engage in marriage, bear, adore, and disciple children, honor those in authority, safeguard life from womb to tomb, work with integrity, manage God-given assets, honor private property, elect magistrates, protect the righteous, lift up the abused, speak charitably, keep our vows, and look forward to glory.
Yes, that’s who we are. A people swimming in God’s grace.
Yes, that’s what we do. All we do is grace friends with gracious deeds, God’s gracious Gospel, and God’s gracious Law..
And how do we expect people to respond to our gracing them with God’s grace? It is our expectation that many will receive it and be refreshed. Such has been the case in the Bible, throughout history, and in our own experience. Many are so thankful for God’s grace worked through us. However, we are also fully aware that may will be repelled by it. This happened to Jesus. This happened to the early church. This is sure to happen to us.
And how will we respond to those who disbelieve, ignore, mock, gossip, slander, sue, persecute, imprison, and kill? May God help us respond to our enemies as God responded to us. May God help us at Horizon Church to always respond with grace!