THE FIFTEENTH DAY OF MAY IN THE YEAR OF GRACE TWO THOUSAND AND SIXTEEN.
A gracEmail subscriber inquires if God provides “means of grace.” That expression includes anything we can do to release grace upon us. Liberation by God from all things that hinder uninhibited joyfilled companionship with him.
There is finally only one “means of grace.” That is faith–trust in God, dependence on him and his unmerited kindness. “We have access by faith into God’s grace” (Rom. 5:2). As part of God’s creation, we are totally dependent on him. “Know that the LORD is God! It is he that made us, and we are his” (Psalm 100:2).
Jesus himself instituted gospel baptism and the Eucharist also as “means of grace.” In baptism we stretch out empty hands of faith and receive the gift of Jesus himself and all that he accomplished for sinners. In the Eucharist we receive the body of Christ (the bread of heaven) and the blood of Christ (the cup of salvation). So receiving, we feed on him in our hearts by faith with thanksgiving. These are not mechanical transactions, like putting a coin in a vending machine and receiving a piece of candy. They are personal encounters involving relationship between us and the living God.
Finally, if we think of “grace” as all of God’s gifts to us, a “means of grace” is any activity through which we experience God’s earthly kindness. That includes fasting and prayer, Scripture reading and meditation, as well as giving to the needy, visiting the lonely or comforting the bereaved. Resting in silence, listening to the ocean’s waves, or savoring the scent of coming rain can also be a “means of grace.” So, for that matter, can teaching a child, making love, or performing everyday tasks with satisfaction and with joy (1 Tim. 4:4-5; Col. 3:17).