Have you ever been up in the mountains or on the beach and just stopped to take a look around and realized just how many good things there are in the world? Of course life is full of sorrow and painful seasons, but we also have so much goodness around us that we don’t even notice. Maybe its not the easiest to spot all the time in places like Las Vegas, where I’m grew up in desert land, but where I live now close to Lake Tahoe it happens all the time.
The next sola that we are looking at is Sola Gratia, or “By Grace Alone.” Grace can be defined as God’s one way love for us, or the unmerited, unearned and undeserved favor that we have because of God. An analogy is like this: Let’s say that I’m driving down the street going twice the speed limit and get pulled over. The just thing that would happen is that the cop would give me a ticket for speeding. Now if he decided to let me off the hook he would be having mercy on me. But an even crazier thing is if the police officer decided to let me go, but before he walked back to his squad car he gave me a hundred bucks and told me to have a nice day. This would be grace. Grace is so over the top that it almost seems ridiculous. The Bible teaches two different sides of the doctrine of God’s grace: his common grace and his special grace.
Going back to the opening paragraph, it amazes me when I look around at my daily life and see all the great things that we have, simply by God’s grace. My mind didn’t even think this way until I was talking with my friend Pastor Alex Early and was reminded of this simple truth: Self-sufficiency is only an allusion. He was quoting Gene Edward Veith Jr. in his book God at Work. Every good thing that we have is dependent on other people and is all a grace given to us from God. Even something like going to the grocery store to buy a loaf of bread is a huge evidence of the common grace in our lives. There were multiple people involved, all the way from harvesting the grain to packaging the product to the truckers that made the delivery to the store. And this is just one simple thing that we need on a day to day basis. The Bible in James 1.17 says that every good thing that we have comes from God and this includes his providence of everyday items that you don’t really think about.
The other side of grace that people typically think of more often is God’s special grace in our lives. This is when God decides out of his own kindness and love to save individual people that were destined for hell and separation from him. This closely ties in with the last blog, Sola Fide, in that we are save by God’s grace alone, by faith alone. The Bible says that left to ourselves, and because of our sin, we were basically on the bottom of the ocean and dead with no way to save ourselves. God decided in his grace to come down and rescue us in the form of Jesus Christ on a cross. He had no obligation to do this but decided to anyways. This gives us great assurance in life because it was God who did absolutely everything in our salvation, thus we could never do a single thing to lose that gift. It is all because of his grace.
So take some time today to look around and see all the great things we have in this life, and if you believe in God, just say thanks. If not, tell someone you run into what a beautiful world we’re all a part of or how they have impacted you for the better.