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Grace Beneath the Waves



There’s a tendency in God to chase us and give us life, not because of something beautiful in us; but because of something beautiful in Him. That’s the thing about a gift. Whether you feel worthy or not doesn’t matter. God’s love is not motivated by or contingent upon your worthiness, after all, grace is when undeserving people receive an unbelievable gift from an unobligated giver. In part two of our series on Jonah, Ben Stuart walks us through the gift that is the grace of God and how we can honor Him by enjoying the gift.

Key Takeaway

No matter where you are, you can cry out to Jesus for salvation. He will rescue you. The means of grace isn't always comfortable, but you can be thankful for it.

What do you do when you've been given a gift?

1) Express gratitude.

2) You honor the giver by enjoying it.

God's love for us is not motivated nor contingent on our loveliness. It's sourced in Him. Grace is when an undeserving people receive an unbelievable gift. The response to this is joy and gratitude.

We see this in Jonah's poem. He expresses gratitude over being brought from his lowest point. He was lost at sea, and it was his own fault. He ran from God, and God let him have what he wanted. He was getting what he deserved. He knew he wasn't worthy of rescuing, but he called out to God anyway. God, in His grace, rescued him.

Grace isn't karma, where it's all dependent on us and what we put out into the world. C.S. Lewis said that in Christianity, the blessing of God does not come after we've done the good and avoided the bad; the blessing comes first.

John Newton made an absolute mess of his life. He made horrible decisions after horrible decisions, ruining his own life and so many others. He was actively a part of the slave trade. Eventually, God grabbed a hold of his heart, and he came to know and accept the grace God had offered him. Now, he is known for 1) becoming a pastor, 2) working tirelessly to abolish slavery in Europe, and 3) writing the hymn, Amazing Grace.

Two groups of people hear the story of Jonah, and while the action needed is the same, the path there is different.

Group 1- Not a Christian, never put your faith in Jesus

  • You have still been created in the image of God.
  • Romans 3:23- you have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God
  • Isaiah 59- the problem is sin has separated you from God
  • Jonah 2:4-7- you can cry out to God, and He will save you

Group 2- I've placed my faith in Jesus

  • You still have a tendency to run from God. Sometimes this can cause even more shame because you feel like you should know better
  • You've been saved from the penalty of sin, but you need you be saved from the power of sin still at work in your life. It can look like insecurity, depression, pornography, etc.
  • You need to cry out to Jesus

When Jonah cried out, God didn't instantaneously place his feet down on a coastal beach. He sent a fish, and he had to be in the fish for 3 days. The means of rescue was uncomfortable.

God saved Jonah through the body of a fish, God saves us through the Body of Christ. The Body of Christ is an instrument of grace and healing. It doesn't save you in the sense of how Jesus saved you through what He purchased for you on the Cross, but it does give you a healthy place to have accountability, love, and a safe place to land.


"Grace. She takes the blame. She covers the shame. Removes the stain. It could be her name...She travels outside of karma...Grace makes beauty out of ugly things."


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Scripture References

  • Jonah 2
  • Romans 3
Ben Stuart Ben Stuart is the pastor of Passion City Church D.C. Prior to joining Passion City Church, Ben served as the executive director of Breakaway Ministries on the campus of Texas A&M. He also earned a master’s degree in historical theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Donna, live to inspire and equip people to walk with God for a lifetime.