Grace doesn’t gloat when others lose, nor grow dejected when another takes the flag. It isn’t glum when others swell with self-importance, nor filled with glee when rivals lose their footing. Salvation never was a zero-sum game, for there can be millions—no, make that billions—who finish the course and win the prize. The waiting crown comes in as many sizes as those who run the race. But finding grace will always be a winner-take-all contest. All whom Christ saves win all of Him—eternal love; enduring hope, and joy that triumphs over sorrow. We look down into open graves and twisting pain, and say to all the worst that evil brings—“Because He lives, I too shall live.” We taunt death’s weakness—"Oh, where’s your sting?”—and fix our eyes upon that day when we will rise to light and joy and everlasting life. “The prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of His return” (2 Tim 4:8). We run to win!  So stay in grace. -Bill Knott

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As Christ grows greater in our minds, we lose our need to be authorities over what others think and do. The deepening awareness that we have been wrong more than we have been right—that we are only now approaching the starting point of faith—creates a gentle tolerance for those now camped where we once stopped, or mired in the stuff from which Christ freed us. We learn to smile at vehemence and vitriol, remembering how frequently we used them for bad causes or when we were still unsure. Grace makes us gracious to the ungraceful, for we see ourselves in them. We remember that their faults are just as pardonable as ours, and no more dangerous. The fellowship of the forgiven is as vast as the grace that makes it possible. So stay in grace. -Bill Knott

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If you are truly saved through faith, then you are daily praying grace down into the cracks and crevices of life, into the dim and unlit corners where fear and fate and faithlessness more often hold the keys. Understanding—really understanding—grace rarely happens through a flash of intellectual enlightenment: Paul’s own Damascus Road was just the first of many miles spent learning grace. Each week we find how weak and meager is our faith, how little we actually trust the great bold verities announced by Jesus and His gospel, how much we fear that what He promises to give is too good to be true. “Increase our faith” is the most honest prayer we ever murmur—and the one He most delights to answer. So stay in grace. -Bill Knott

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Marvene Thorpe-Baptiste is an editorial assessment coordinator for Adventist Review Ministries.

Our pledges of good behavior are only as good as the people who make them—which is to say, not good at all.  The litter of our broken promises to change, reform, and improve ourselves stretches back like resolutions at the end of January. And we aim too low. We have in mind trying to suppress our angry words. Christ has in mind an entirely new vocabulary grounded in the knowledge that we—and all others—are deeply loved by Him. We imagine chocolates as the foible we intend to fix. Jesus knows that fear is at the root of all our failing—fear of the Father, of each other, of the future. And so His first word to us at every moment of doubt and discouragement is an assurance of His care:  “You can stop being afraid now.” Grace always meets us where we are, but never leaves us where we were. The greatest and most joyful change is lived by those who most receive the gift of grace. So stay in grace. -Bill Knott

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Breathe deeply now, and let your heart grow quiet as you turn from sins forgiven. “By this we shall know that we are of the truth, and reassure our hearts before Him whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything” (1 John 3:19-20). It’s not the voice of God that drives you on to fear, or rush, or labor past your strength. We dare not make the Spirit own our anxiousness or lack of peace.  God is always on the side of what gives life, builds hope, and moves us even one small step toward balance. His grace is meant to keep us breathing, as well as for our saving.  The day that Jesus wants to bring us healing is the day that we are living, not only when our destinies are weighed.  “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). His grace is for today and always. So stay in grace. -Bill Knott

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How does God’s grace invade our daily conversations? Certainly not by retreating to our separate corners and hurling brickbats at each other.  Of all the “stuff” we absorb from our angry culture, the habits of accusing and deriding are undoubtedly the worst. But as grace finds a home in us, we grow more willing to admit that we might be mistaken.  Receiving grace requires we confess we are wrong, and always have been.  We’ve misunderstood the love of God, imagining Him as only angry, always disappointed. We’ve wandered into deeds that brought us shame and guilt.  We’ve argued for ideas that were vanquished at the cross.  “All we like sheep have gone astray” (Is 53:6). So grace prepares us for a new way of talking with each other, even when we disagree—especially when we disagree.  “You could be right”—"I might be wrong”: these are the tools of reconciliation and renewal.  Look carefully at grace before you look your opponent in the eye. There is no greater joy than laughing with a former enemy.  So stay in grace. -Bill Knott 

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Willie Oliver is the director of the General Conference Family Ministries Department. 

Below our deepest hurt and darkest shame, there is the grace of God—forgiving us, rebuilding us, repairing all that’s broken. Above our highest joy and most euphoric moments, there is the sheer delight of God—applauding us, encouraging, enlarging celebration. Through every stage of every journey—in trust, in fear; in faith, in doubt; in youth, in gray maturity—we’re never left alone or told to make it on our own. Despite appearances, the road is never empty. Around us each are Jesus’ everlasting arms—sustaining us, protecting us, embracing us. His hands are ever on us. “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things” (Rom 11:36). “Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? . . . No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Rom 8:39). We are befriended by the One who rules all time and space. Receive the gift. And stay in grace. -Bill Knott

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For about 25 years now, the Adventist Review has been publishing Clifford Goldstein’s column.  Called Cliff’s Edge, it deals with a host of issues regarding faith, theology, philosophy, science and just about anything else he can think of that he thinks is relevant and faith-affirming.

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