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

We have been exploring this incredible free gift called Grace or G.R.A.C.E. (God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense). Now there is only one Grace and it flows from Christ’s atoning work on the cross. But Grace acts differently in our lives as our journey with God progresses.
Today we are going to look at what happens after we have accepted Christ as our Lord and Savior and committed to living a live that pleases Him. This ongoing journey with Grace is called Sanctifying Grace. For most people, just because they accepted Christ, there are still plenty of things that stand in the way of truly being set free to be all that God wants us to be. Even through God has forgiven us and made us new, many of us want to hang onto our past hurtful behaviors. Or we still have some old ways that need to be transformed. And this is where Sanctifying Grace comes in.
Sanctifying Grace is the long-term process of allowing the Holy Spirit to remake our lives from the inside out. It is the process of giving up the old ways, letting go of our shame, and being truly set free to live a life filled with joy and happiness. It does not mean that there won’t be more challenges ahead. Instead it means that through our connection with God, we can see the other side and be absolutely assured that all things will work out just fine for those who believe in Christ.
As you think about your life, how many years have you spent learning to how to do your job? Learning to do everything from reading, writing, and arithmetic, to how to run certain machines and work with others. Do you feel that you are a complete expert at all aspects of your job and that there is no more room to learn? Well if you have spent so many years learning to do your job, just how many years do you think it is going to take us finite beings to learn all there is to know about an infinite God? It is going to take an eternity to learn all about God. And guess what? That is how long God give us – an eternity. For those who believe in Christ we are granted the wonderful journey of learning and growing more in love with God and with each other from now and forever more.
So why what until you get into heaven to start learning and growing? Christ expects us to begin living out our eternity today, right now. And we engage this learning and transformation process by getting active in the Church, attending worship, reading the Bible, praying, tithing, fasting, getting in small covenant groups where we can get support and be held accountable, and trying out our new life and new ways of living. And along the way, we are going to make mistakes. And the wonderful aspect about Sanctifying Grace is that we learn and grow, make a mistake, ask for forgiveness, and then get right back learning and growing again. This is the ultimate long-term transformational process. And it leads to true satisfaction.
But once again we are faced with the question and this is can we reject God’s Grace and lose our salvation? The answer is yes. So if we reject God and walk away from Him, can we come back to Him and regain our salvation. The answer is an absolute yes!
We will finish this series next week when we look at the goal or the end-game for all of this wonderful Grace in our lives.