"Then when he arrived and witnessed the grace of God, . . ." Acts 11:23
Fresh eyes. It's what we need to see the Church in all her beauty. The first glimpse we get of the Church at Antioch is through the eyes of Barnabas, who says he witnessed the grace of God. What a contrast to the city of Antioch, a city known for its showy, superficial ways.
But, when he saw the Church he said, it’s the grace of God. Their lives were illuminated with the seal of the Spirit. His grace was revealed in their redeemed lives, it was unlike anything he'd ever seen in all the city of Antioch.
To get beneath the trite expression the word grace has become, we need only to look at scripture to be reminded of the importance of grace. Grace strengthens, grace gives us hope, it increases our vigor and vision, as well, we are to sing with grace. Grace has to do with buoyancy.
Buoyancy determines whether an object will float or sink. In scuba diving, buoyancy measures two competing forces – the downward pressure on the object and the upward pressure on the object. Positive buoyancy is caused when an object is lighter than the fluid it displaces. The object will float because the buoyant force is greater than the object’s weight.
It's by grace that we are sustained. The weight of grace is always greater than the downward weight of the sin and darkness of the world. More powerful than the upward forces of our culture. Just as the diver is trained to swim horizontally, taking long, slow, deep breaths allows the diver to be propelled forward.
So our life of buoyancy begins by deliberately giving up our right to ourselves and trusting oneself entirely to the Lord Jesus Christ. It's in God’s grace we are propelled forward. Then, we experience the sustaining work of salvation.
Make no mistake about it, it's the grace of God that sustains the Church. It's unlike anything and everything else in the city. In the midst of a sea of despair, it is the buoyant bride.
Whatever the critics may say about the Church, we are compelled to say, there is grace.