Living in Grace
There are several things about Jesus that we are often reminded of in The Urantia Book. Chief of these is how he revealed the Father in every aspect of his living. He did this by acting as if the Father were present in himself as well as the men and women he came into contact with all his life. This behavior reflects the living of a truth that we know as fact: we are indwelt with a (pre)personal representative of our Paradise Father. When a human behaves in a manner consistent with the faith / understanding of this truth / fact, a remarkable trait of character invariably assumes dominance in that personality. Such folks are said to be full of grace.
We hear the word grace a lot, but what does it mean? Consider some definitions: elegance or attractiveness of form, movement, manner, or attitude; mercy, favor, good will; God’s unmerited mercy toward mankind; influence of God’s spirit; condition of one who enjoys God’s special favor; trait of moral excellence. How about graceful: displaying beauty in form, manner, movement, or expression. And gracious: showing or bestowing goodness, kindness, or mercy. We find all the words synonymous with grace to be exclusively positive and harmonious; beautiful, favorable, kindly, benevolent, courteous.
This small word, grace, and its relatives, graceful, grateful, gracious, congratulations, gratitude, gratified—all connote attitudes or behaviors that invade the sincere religionist commensurate with ever-increasing faith.
In all praying, remember that sonship is a gift. No child has aught to do with earning the status of son or daughter. The earth child comes into being by the will of its parents. Even so, the child of God comes into grace and the new life of the spirit by the will of the Father in heaven. Therefore must the kingdom of heaven—divine sonship—be received as by a little child. You earn righteousness—progressive character development–but you receive sonship by grace and through faith. [Paper 144:4.3, page 1621.2]
The transformations of grace are wrought in response to the living faith of those who are the beneficiaries. [Paper 150:9.2, page 1686.5]
These passages establish the source of grace, its cost (gratis!) as well as the technique for accessing it. “His last words that night were: ‘Grow in grace by means of that living faith that grasps that you are the sons of God while at the same time it recognizes every man as a brother’” [147:8]. Jesus gives the apostles a pure nugget of condensed truth: the spiritual summation of the fourth revelation is disclosed as comprehensible through sincere consecration, which opens the heart to accept God’s infinite mercy.
If you believe that grace is an elective in our personal growth, perhaps just a pleasant by-product of moral behavior, or maybe a virtue that you might come to possess someday, consider these statements from the Master:
Entrance into the Father’s kingdom is wholly free, but progress—growth in grace—is essential to continuance therein. [Paper 150:5, page 1682.4]
You cannot stand still in the affairs of the eternal kingdom. My Father requires all his children to grow in grace and in a knowledge of the truth. [Paper 176:3, page 1917.1]
Make sure that the truth abides in your lives, and that you daily grow in grace. [Paper 177:0, page 1920.1]
Life in the Father’s eternal creation is not an endless rest of idleness and glory. [Paper 181:1, page 1953.4]
And courtesy of the fallen apostle, we also have a negative example:
But his being an isolated type of personality would not, in and of itself, have wrought such mischief for Judas had it not been that he also failed to increase in love and grow in spiritual grace. [Paper 193:4, page 2056.0]
Everywhere we turn in our tutorial text we find grace positioned with truth, love, beauty, mercy, goodness, and faith. It truly merits our attention and meditation, as it did Brother Lawrence, a seventeenth century monk who noted, “The higher the perfection to which a soul aspires the more dependent it is upon grace.” The Christian author, Philip Yancey, attempts the difficult definition of grace in relation to God: “Grace means there is nothing we can do to make God love us more. And grace means there is nothing we can do to make God love us less.” A very worthy effort, but the best definition actually walked the dusty roads of Urantia two millenniums past.
Jesus spread good cheer wherever he went. He was full of grace and truth. His associates never ceased to wonder at the gracious words that proceeded out of his mouth. You can cultivate gracefulness, but graciousness is the aroma of friendliness which emanates from a love-saturated soul. [Paper 171:7, page 1874.4]