Editor’s Note: The AMI QT Devotionals from July 4-10 are provided by Pastor Barry Kang, who heads Symphony Church in Boston. Barry, a graduate of Stanford University and Fuller Theological Seminary (M.Div.), is married to Sunny (an amazing worship leader, chef and math wizard). They are the proud parents of Caleb and Micah.
Devotional Thought for Today
I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.
As Paul began his letter, so he ends—with a blessing of grace. It is the most important thing he has to offer; it is the most important thing any of us have been given. Grace. This grace underlies, overflows, and seeps through Paul’s entire letter.
So it is important that we understand what this grace is. Grace is the offer of God’s unending presence and love. Grace is not just the forgiveness of sins. We can get a little confused about this. Sometimes we think of grace as God seeing our sins, but He sighs and says, “Okay, never mind. I forgive you because of Jesus.” If we think of grace in that way—as God’s passive response to our active sins—then of course grace will not have the power to transform us.
Now grace does include the promise of forgiveness, but it is not just that. John Ortberg puts it like this: “Grace is the flow of God’s power and presence and favor in your life from one moment to the next moment to the next moment to enable you to do whatever it is that God wants for you to do.” It is given to us through the active work of Jesus Christ in His incarnation, cross, and resurrection.
It is through grace that Paul was sustained, even as he was in prison. It is through grace that the prayers of the Colossians for Paul were heard. It is through grace that we believe, are baptized, incorporated into the body, and serve. It is by God’s grace that we live, breathe and have life. It is by God’s grace that we receive power through his Holy Spirit and overcome trials. We did not deserve any of it. We can never earn it. But it’s here, and it’s for you.
Grace be with you.
Father, thank You for this grace. Thank You that You love us so much that You pour this undeserved gift upon us—the gift of Yourself. Thank You that we will never be separated from You by Your grace. Thank you. Help us to become more aware of this grace. We so often fall into the trap of thinking that we have somehow merited Your favor by our good behavior and choices. Forgive us that our relationship with You can be so transactional. We want to grow in our love for You and grow in our desire for the desires of Your heart. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Psalm 104