Those who fear the coming triumph of grace sadly don’t know the love of which they are afraid. They want a “gospel” that is really not “good news”—for its litany of “should,” “ought,” and “must” betrays that they don’t understand Jesus as the Author and Finisher of our faith.  They replace the long obedience of grateful love with hours of clenched teeth and self-flagellation, hoping He will notice and approve. They forget that “by His stripes we are healed.” But I’m a witness that a day will come when each will meet the Love that will not let them go. Grace always knocks at shut doors, closed hearts, and frozen lives, awaiting that glad moment when we admit our helplessness and need. If you know grace, then you’ve been warmed. So stay in grace. -Bill Knott

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Even in our ungracious world, there’s persisting admiration for the man or woman who demonstrates “grace under fire”—poised and composed under disheartening provocations. “It’s just a part of her character,” we enviously say, remembering how frequently we’ve fought our fires with fire. And while there may be some gallant souls who didn’t consciously learn this grace from God, most we admire act graciously because they know the Giver of this gift. Our growing awareness of how much we’ve been broken and how well we’ve been redeemed helps us sympathize with other broken people. It makes us long—yes, ache—to see their lives restored, renewed, rehealed. We live to give away what we’ve been given. Grace had its origin in a love outside of us. It has its present—and its future—in loving well beyond ourselves. So stay in grace. -Bill Knott

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When we ask, “How often should I forgive?” we pretend what isn’t true—that there have only been a modest number of times when we required forgiveness. The answer from the Lord—and from an honest conscience—is that we ought to forgive as many times as we have been forgiven.  That number is unknowable, and, truth be told, steadily growing. Forgiveness is a way of being, not a sin-by-sin accounting system designed to make us all good recordkeepers.  It’s in the heart of Jesus to “not hold our sins against us,” to fully, wholly, and yes, joyfully erase the record of our sins when we confess and leave them.  And we’ll do the same for others when we candidly admit how much we’ve been forgiven.  Grace knows no integers, no fractions, and no decimal points.  This is the life we live when we go walking with the Lord. So stay in grace. -Bill Knott

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Sarah Kannanaikkel is an international service employee specialist at the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventist in Silver Spring, Maryland, United States.

Delbert Baker is the vice chancellor of Adventist University of Africa, near Nairobi, Kenya. 

Jimmy Phillips is the network marketing director for Kettering Health Network. 

Grace is always a choice—when God extends it to us, or when we extend it to each other. The decision to forgive, to not hold someone’s sins like death shrouds up against them, is always made in light of other options. No one can require God to love us unconditionally and forgive us unreservedly, for we are the broken, foolish ones who willfully transgressed His law. And when the broken, foolish people around us disappoint or damage us, grace is a choice we make in echo of God’s kindness. Only wounded hearts can offer forgiveness: only those with power to mete out penalties and vengeance can pour out grace instead. We are never more like Jesus than when we gift to those who injure us what neither they nor we deserve. So stay in grace. -Bill Knott

Is there a greater joy than knowing for even one hour that you are in the center of God’s will—that through some miracle of grace, you are aligned with plans the Father made to win you back and win the hearts of those you love? Is there a better confidence than the one which every Sabbath reminds you that “the earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein”? Can there be a deeper security than when Christ’s word of certainty penetrates your fears and doubts with the assurance, “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together”? The answers to those questions, friends, are “no,” “no,” and “no”—nothing "will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Your hope will rise; your joy will find its wings. Trust is the dawn from which our daylight grows. So stay in grace. -Bill Knott

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“He’s so much better than I am,” we say, proving just how little we know of someone else’s life. “She’s a saint,” we say admiringly, assuming that the woman we can see is always just as good as we imagine. We assign a top-notch grade to behaviors we observe, and make assumptions that the life consistency we can’t achieve is somehow available to others. But grace reminds us of the brokenness we share—each one of us—regardless of the estimate of others. Behind the fair façade of piety and cool, we each know just how far we fall below the expectations of our God—and how each well-lived life is only, always, saved by grace. All ranks, all grades, all estimates are vanities and not realities. If you can find a soul not absolutely saved by grace, then you have found the rarest form of human life. Give up your search: there is no other way. And stay in grace. -Bill Knott

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Most of us inherited a God no kinder than we were—a deity whose major role seemed meting out tough penalties for willful or impetuous mistakes. Like primitive believers everywhere, we read His displeasure in thunderstorms, bruised knees, and lost puppies—for was there anything for which we weren’t somehow to blame? So it is that finding grace is the great unlearning of our past, the sweet and joyful discovery that in Jesus, our sins aren’t being counted against us. What we sang in innocence was actually, fundamentally true: “Jesus loves me”—genuinely loves me. He can’t imagine a greater happiness than enjoying my trust and affection. How glorious to have been wrong about it all—to celebrate the truth that undermines our youthful foolishness and fear. His perfect love still casts out fear, and makes us wise unto salvation. By grace, our thinking—and our living—is renewed. So stay in grace. -Bill Knott

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