“Grace” is by far the most important word and concept in the Bible! Therefore, grace is very important to everyone who believes in it. However, grace is just not a gift, that the Lord God drops into man’s laps, at a time, when he becomes a believer in the Creator; nor is grace an injection of God’s Spirit at man's conversion to Christianity. Grace is inherent and dormant in human nature, and grace only can come alive and be active by accepting the messages of Moses, the Prophets, the Psalms, Jesus, and Paul. Grace is part of the "image and likeness of God" in man! Therefore, it is up to man to choose and to live graciously.
Christmas has been converted into a lasting gold mine for the world. It has been turned into “a jolly holiday” of extravagance of pleasure, entertainment, and into a display of human endeavor of accomplishments. Our Western Culture has Mary sit on the donkey and Joseph leading the animal. When in reality the culture, at that time, would call it an insult for a man leading an animal with his wife sitting on the donkey. Not so very long time ago, an American travelled south and observed a man riding the mule and the woman carrying two heavy bags after him; therefore, the American remarked his displeasure vocally and the man on the mule replied in colloquial English, “She ain’t got no mule.”
Grace is the oil of life! And without grace we cannot function. Grace is also like a crop that has to be seeded and harvested before it is ready to be used. The great wonderful truth is that the Creator has filled his creation with overabundance of grace. It is unfortunate that so many of us do not make sufficient use of grace.
I was born into a Christian home, and there never was a time when my conscience was not aware of a voice in my heart that kept me from covering up my bad intentions. When I did something wrong, I had nightmares. My grandmother, who lived with us for eight years, never grew tired of reminding me that "God was watching." That feeling has been with me all my life. God’s Spirit has never left my conscience unattended. The Apostle Paul admitted that man is born with the sense of good and evil in him (Romans 2:14-16). John Zebedee had a similar feeling and he knew how we can appease our conscience:
In solving problems, Paul looked for answers and ended up redefining the work of Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit. Paul's theology evolved out of his psychology and it is spread over all his writings. Paul did not develop a systematic and an organized theology, but he developed a practical day by day theology, by which a person had to live by. Paul did not separate theory from practice because they were one and the same. For instance, Paul did not separate grace from work! Paul's interpreters did! The interpreters made salvation easy and more convenient. To Paul, "works" were the evidence that grace was at work. Paul’s entire practical theology was based on "cause and effect," as it occurred in the history of the Jewish people. Paul's practical theology is build into the concept of predestination and the foreknowledge of God.
The apostle Paul defined the true nature of grace in a rather unusual way, but then he was an unusual representative of God with very unusual insight into grace.
Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, was a Jew. And Paul died as a Jew. He proclaimed a Gospel based on faith alone; yet Paul, himself, did the works of a Jew. He was in a hurry to get to Jerusalem before the day of Pentecost or the Feast of Weeks. These feasts represented the first fruits of rededication to God (Acts 20:16). Paul and his Jewish companions had to undergo purification before they could participate in the offering in the temple. The Jewish Christians were still practicing the Jewish traditions and Paul did the same.
Long before Jesus was born, the Lord God demonstrated "His Presence" in a shepherd boy called David, who became king over God’s people, Israel. King David had committed a few fallacies and he attempted to cover up his transgressions. We are told that the Lord God sent Nathan to admonish and to correct the King David. The king had to learn that the wages of sin are demanding, "a life for a life." David had taken the life of Bathsheba’s husband and now the king had to lose her child, that he had fathered, in adultery (II Samuel 11-12). Such a crime cannot be atoned in this life. Taking a life is a sin against God! Because that person (that life) has been separated from God without having a chance to make things right in this life, which is required to establish an upright standing with God. David knew it and therefore he cried out:
Time is the frame in which we live, move, and have our being. Time is granted to us to structure our lives in such a way that we become competent to make our way through the world and into the Arms of God. Christmas is a time when we ought to long to return home and be reunited with our loved ones. At least that was my wish when I was some six thousand miles from my family. It reminded me of the Gospel that informs us that God, the Father, had a similar longing, only his children were not willing to receive His First-born Son. There was no room in the inn and His own family did not want His Son (Luke 2:6-7; John 1:11). He (Jesus) was the First-born! For Jesus existed before man was designed, by God, to be made in “His Image and in “His Likeness.” Yet, in this world, the Son of God, our Brother, was not allowed to have a simple roof over His head. And Jesus had nothing to offer of any value on earth to those who desired to follow Him. Jesus gave this answer to a prospect:
Paul did not, nor could he write an orderly account of Jesus the Son of God. He found it impossible to put the “One” in whom the fullness of God was into a letter or even into a dissertation. It was like putting an ocean into a coffee cup. The immensity and the match up is beyond all human comprehension. With Paul, we all nibble on "tiny bits and pieces." Even the crumbs, which fell off Christ’s table, were more than sufficient for Paul to pen these words: