The Apostle Paul, writing to Christians in Rome, said this: “Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God.” (Romans 5:1-2, NRSV).

The English word grace comes from the Greek word khar’-ece, meaning “the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life, including gratitude, joy, liberality, pleasure …” (Strong’s Greek Dictionary, page 77).

Grace is also translated from the Hebrew word khane, meaning “favour, gracious, pleasant, precious, well-favoured.” (Strong’s Hebrew Dictionary, page 41).

When we accept the gift of life that is available to everyone who confesses Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, we receive the grace of God. It would follow that we would demonstrate grace in our lives from that point forward.

We would be filled with gratitude, joy, liberality, and wholesome pleasure in life. God forgives our sins and shortcomings, and gives us the power (through the Holy Spirit) to be confident and at peace. It is grace that allows us to say, “I’m sorry” when we have done wrong, and to be forgiven.

But we humans often have trouble forgiving ourselves. We tend to carry our baggage around secretly. We will beat ourselves up over things we have done in the past, as if we haven’t been forgiven by God.

We may understand that God has forgiven us, but we can’t seem to forgive ourselves. When we do this, we are robbing ourselves of the joy, liberality, and wholesome pleasures of life. Who are we to refuse ourselves grace as if we know better than God?

It is our enemy, Satan the Devil, that wants us to hang-on to guilt and rob ourselves of the joy of God’s good favor. It seems to be that time between asleep and awake that we are most troubled by the mind-field of spiritual battle.

The enemy wants to convince us, using our own thoughts, that we are not loved, that we are worthless, and that we should give-up. Nothing could be further from the truth!

“For God loved the world so much, that He gave His only begotten Son, so that all who believe in Him would never die, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16). If God loves us that much, isn’t grace sufficient, even for you?

It’s time you accepted the grace of God, and it’s time that you gave yourself grace. Cut the cords that tie you to guilt, and be free to enjoy the freedom of knowing Jesus Christ. The St. Andrew’s family can help. You are always welcome to join us.

Blessings and Peace to You in 2018 and Beyond,

Fr. David+

Rev. Dr. David Bridges is the pastor at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Grove. He can be reached at St. Andrew's worship service is at 10 a.m., every Sunday, and broadcast on KWXC 88.9 FM at noon on Thursdays and at 5 p.m. on Saturdays.