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“By the Grace of God”

During a British conference on comparative religions, experts from around the world debated what, if any, belief was unique to the Christian faith. They began eliminating possibilities. Incarnation? Other religions had different versions of gods appearing in human form. Resurrection? Other religions had accounts of return from death. The debate went on for some time until C.S. Lewis wandered into the room. “What’s the rumpus about?” he asked, and heard in reply that his colleagues were discussing Christianity’s unique contribution among world religions. Lewis responded. “Oh, that’s easy. It’s grace.” After some discussion, the conferees had to agree. The notion of God’s love coming to us free of charge, no strings attached, seems to go against every instinct of humanity. The Buddhist eight-fold path, the Hindu doctrine of karma, the Jewish covenant, and Muslim code of law—each of these offers a way to earn approval. Only Christianity dares to make God’s love unconditional. Theologian Karl Barth, after writing thousands of pages in his Church Dogmatics, arrived at this simple definition of God: “the One who loves.”


Once when I was 15, I left my home and for several nights I had not bothered to come home at all. I was struggling with adolescence. I did not want to do anything. I just hated everything at that time. So I ran away from my family and stayed at my friend's house for a few days. My parents might have thought about various forms of punishment, but I remember my parents took me in their arms. They wanted the best for me. I believe that God embraced me unconditionally, just the way I am, and continues to bestow upon me His unwavering love. I recall my 15th year:

"I once was lost, but now am found; was blind, but now I see."

God's mercy is manifested through Jesus Christ, who selflessly paid the debt of our brokenness on the cross. God's love is unconditional. Mozart's Requiem contains a wonderful line that has become my prayer. I pray with confidence: "Jesus Christ, you are merciful. Your love is never-ending, and I am the cause of your journey." And this, God's grace, is for you always.

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect.” 1 Corinthians 15:10


Blessings, Pastor Cho

Pastor Kihun Choi

Walden U M C

Pastor at Walden United Methodist Church 

Pastor at Bullville United Methodist Church

Pastor at Maybrook United Methodist Church

Graduate of Drew University with a Master of Divinity (M,Div) Degree

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