Full of Grace

Michael Beck

“… If ye love those loving you, what grace have ye? for also the sinful love those loving them; and if ye do good to those doing good to you, what grace have ye? for also the sinful do the same.” (Luke 6:32,33)

God expects His children to be like Him. He is holy and righteous and gracious and merciful, and calls us to be the same. “Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.” (Luke 6:36)

To be holy is to be different from what is typical in the world of men. There is a holy attitude that reflects the heart of God. Jesus was able to love the imperfect world around Him because He knew and walked in the heart of God. Of Jesus, the apostle John wrote: “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)

In the eyes of His followers, what distinguished the Perfect Man from all others was that He was “full of grace.” This grace was demonstrated not only by how He treated the despised members of society, but by how He responded to those who despised Him. How astonishing that He should love His enemies, do good to those who hated Him, bless those who cursed Him, and pray for those who despitefully used and persecuted Him. Here was a display of grace and glory that marked Him as “holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners.” (Heb. 7:26)

Sinful men can have a great appetite for justice, but little taste for mercy.

Jesus understood the way of God, but He also understood the way of man. Sinful men can have a great appetite for justice, but little taste for mercy. They are not prone to follow the Golden Rule (i.e., “And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise”); to the contrary, they follow the law of recompense, doing to others what others have done to them. On the positive side: “You like me; I like you. You treat me well; I treat you well.” On the negative side: “You curse me, I’ll curse you. You hurt me; I’ll hurt you.” What grace is there in such an attitude? Jesus said there was none. Those who operate in such a manner are no different than anyone else. There is no holiness of heart, no likeness to God, only a raw instinct of retaliation.

Christ was not overcome by evil. He did not pay back evil with evil. He overcame the evil He experienced with good. To be like our gracious God and Savior we must be “full of grace.” The Son demonstrated His love for the Father by how He loved His imperfect, sinful creation.

Each of us has our arena to love God in. “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?” (1 John 4:20) Above all else, God calls us to love each other – not with the love that is common to this world; but with a love that loves the unlovely; a love that cannot be extinguished when it is unloved; a love that is “full of grace” and graciousness. We show how separate we are from sinners not by how much we hate them, but by how much we love them, even at their ugly worst.

Michael Beck is a pastor in the Dallas, TX area and the main author on Signpost. Receive a daily devotional he publishes every morning via email.