“And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Acts 2:21)
Pentecost is the Feast of First Fruits. It marks the beginning of God’s greatest outpouring of grace. The Holy Spirit was poured out on mankind first to the Apostles, then, through them to the Jews and also to the Gentiles. And that same Holy Spirit is still being poured out today. The message of Pentecost that the Holy Spirit brings is the message of grace: God’s unmerited favor, His righteousness given to those who do not deserve it by means of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.
Grace is what reached out to me when I was lost in sin. Grace was what reached out to me in the dark times of my Christian walk. Grace is what changed me from a cold-hearted legalist into a loving and compassionate Christian, an instrument of grace. I’m not perfect, that’s true, but God’s grace lets me know that He understands that. I desire to be as loving and compassionate as He is. By His grace and strength, He makes that possible.
Grace stands in contrast to God’s law. Law condemns. It shows us our sins, where we fall short. But by God’s grace, law shows us our need for God’s mercy, our need for Jesus and His atoning sacrifice. Law does not eliminate sin. It may curb and limit it, but it can not make us more righteous. Law can influence outward behavior, but only the Spirit of God can change the heart. He imparts faith to us and makes us righteous. Then He makes us His instruments of grace, to extend His mercy and unconditional love to every individual on earth.