– James H. Aughey
What is Grace?
Grace is a free gift of God. It is unmerited and unearned or it wouldn’t be grace anymore. We are saved only by grace, and nothing about it has anything to do with works (Eph 2:8-9). Grace is what God gives us, which we don’t deserve. This free gift of grace cost Jesus His own life. Grace is free, but it is certainly not cheap. Jesus had to suffer excruciatingly during His trial, scourging, and torturous hours on the cross as well as the painful separation from God the Father. It shows God’s great love for sinners because He died while every one that is alive today was still His enemy (Rom 5:10). We should never take grace for granted because it is taking the cross for granted. Our salvation and, in fact, the gospel all center and rest upon the cross, for without Jesus’ payment on the cross, God’s wrath would have never been satisfied and we would all still have God’s wrath abiding on us (John 3:18b, 36b) and facing payment due after death (Rev 20:12-15). Why then is cheerfulness the friend and helper of all good graces?
Cheerfulness, the Friend of Grace
When Paul was speaking about the gifts that God bestows upon every believer, he mentioned one in association with cheerfulness in Romans 12:8, where he writes, “the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.” The one who does acts of mercy must do these acts cheerfully. Can you imagine someone being merciful and being grumpy? It seems that cheerfulness is the friend and helper of grace; in other words, when someone is cheerful, it really gives more meaning to the acts of mercy.
The Necessity of Cheerfulness
Cheerfulness is not one of the gifts of the Spirit, but it is a true friend and helper of all the gifts. Here’s why I say that: For someone who has the ability to give, Paul writes, “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor 9:7). How about someone who has the gift of singing? James writes, “Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise” (James 5:13b). How hard would it be if you were not cheerful yet still had to sing praises in a worship service? How about giving to a ministry without being cheerful about it? What about doing an act of mercy without being cheerful about it? It seems impossible, doesn’t it? That’s why cheerfulness is the true friend and helper of all the good graces that God has granted to the church and to individual believers. No wonder we are to be of good cheer.
Jesus said, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Jesus was cheerful. I am sure the Father is, and so is the Holy Spirit. Many believers I personally know are very cheerful. That’s the value of cheerfulness and why cheerfulness is the friend and helper of all good graces.