At last Sunday’s VLC worship gathering, Pastor Stuart talked about the Essentials of Family Culture in which he made some comparisons between church family and natural family. As part of this comparison, he asked the gathering, “What are some qualities of a ‘perfect church?’” In VLC fashion, responses were shouted out, one of which was “grace,” “grace for those coming into the local church and grace for those moving on from that local church.” At this moment I started reflecting on the phrase from Ephesians 2:8, “It is by grace you have been saved.” Families are integral to salvation, which is more than just making sure we get to go to heaven when we die.
The Greek word for “save” is a common word with a broad range of definition. It, of course, carries the meaning of rescuing or delivering from danger, peril, or judgement. But, it also can mean to make well, heal, restore to health, or deliver from suffering.
The grace we extend to one another is a gateway for salvation, both in the here and now and for eternity. When grace is extended, it affords the opportunity for people to receive salvation by placing their faith in God and in his people. Faith is the act of receiving the gift of grace, which is only ever a free gift. A church that is maturing in Christ will be a family of grace and a community of healing. Salvation is a collective experience.
Grace and peace,