~How Does God See Us: God’s Grace -Lesson 1
-What are these verses saying?
-Does this verse talk about us doing anything to get God’s grace?
*Definition of Grace: the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.
-What insights do these verses give us into how God views us?
“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.”
John 15:5 (NLT)
-What is this verse saying?
When it is talking about being in the vine and we are the branches, the vine represents Christ. Without Christ, we can’t do anything that would produce fruit. The fruit is often referred to in the Christian life as proof that we belong to Christ. That proof could be how we treat others, especially the difficult people in our lives or it could be kind things we do with the hopes of sharing God’s love with someone.
-Does this verse point to us earning or salvation (eternal life in heaven)?
If we aren’t earning our salvation then that means we are covered in God’s grace. When we accept God’s free gift of salvation, we are then covered in God’s grace. When this happens, we are brought into God’s family. We are also given new life.
“For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be rendered powerless so that we may no longer be enslaved to sin, ”
Romans 6:6 (CSB)
The Message paraphrase of the Bible puts Romans 6:6 this way, “Could it be any clearer? Our old way of life was nailed to the cross with Christ, a decisive end to that sin-miserable life—no longer at sin’s every beck and call!”
-If we now have a new life in Christ, then does God see our old icky, messed up selves?
Does this mean that we are now perfect? Will we never mess-up, instantly be healed of our broken hearts and deep hurts? If the answer was that we are instantly transformed into perfect unbroken people then my story would be fake and this study wouldn’t be needed. But I think we often get stuck thinking this is true. In our hearts, we read that verse and others like it and think, “I so messed up and broken. What’s wrong with me? Am I even really a Christian? How could God love me?” This was me for so many years. It is true that God no longer sees us as broken and messed up. But we are still human, we are still on this earth. Some things in our lives may seem to change overnight, but others may take time.
Take heart, you are completely normal! Paul even wrote about his struggle with being human, “I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. ” Romans 7:1(NLT) We will dive into this more later.
~Talk it out/Think about it
Journal or talk the following out with God. I encourage you that if you haven’t really journaled before to try at least writing down a significant thought God puts on your heart while you are talking to Him about these things. Just remember you will only get out what you decide to put into this. It’s your relationship with God, your journey, which makes it up to you to figure out what will help you most.
-What is your view on God’s grace?
-Did that change after this part of the study? Why or why not?
-Is understanding God’s grace something that is easy for you to believe for yourself? Why or why not?
If you are struggling with believing any of the truths above, I encourage you to talk them out with God. Wrestle with Him about them. Ask Him to help you see why this is difficult for you. And remember to not grow discouraged if you don’t figure it out right away. It’s a process and a journey!