By Pastor Mike Gudka  St. Paul United Methodist Church, La Porte City

This month, we are exploring the concept of God’s Grace (G.R.A.C.E or God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense). And we are looking at how God uses the complete work of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross to bring us home.
We have looked at how God continues to reach out to us and get our attention long before we even know that we need God. We have also looked at how God uses difficult times in our lives to help us see Him and realize that we need Him. And this week we will look at that wonderful moment when we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior.
This moment when we get down on our knees, admit our failures, ask Christ to come into our lives, and work to change the way we live our lives is called the moment of Justifying Grace. This is the moment when Christ’s work on that cross serves to justify, or make us right with God. Through Christ’s sinless life and sacrificial death, we are made holy. We are made new. We are reborn. And this is a completely free gift. There is nothing we can do to pay for, earn, or work to achieve this gift. It comes through belief in Christ and accepting Him as the Ruler over our lives. And when we do this, all of our past sins are washed away. We are made holy and righteous before the Father. We are brought into the eternal Kingdom. And this gift is so incredible that all we can do is accept it. To graciously give thanks for the free gift of our salvation and allow the Holy Spirit to help us love God more and more, and love each other more and more.
And now for the tough news, can we reject or lose our salvation? The answer is yes. God wants us to freely love Him. He wants us to truly accept Him and really want to be with Him. And it is because of this that we need to guard our hearts and get into a community of believers who will support us, keep us accountable, pray for us, and continue to help us grow more and more into the image of Christ. Put simply, we cannot go through this transformation process alone. We need real Christians in our lives who won’t judge and condemn. But instead, they will be there with us, as we are with them along our journeys. We need to be in the body of believers, called the Church.
Well this incredible thing called Grace is not even close to being done with us. And we will look at what happens after we accept Christ and begin the journey to become more and more like Him.