GraceNotes Podcast-logo

GraceNotes Podcast

Religion & Spirituality Podcas >

GraceNotes is a weekly publication of Bill Knott, Editor/Executive Publisher of Adventist Review/Adventist World magazines.

GraceNotes is a weekly publication of Bill Knott, Editor/Executive Publisher of Adventist Review/Adventist World magazines.
More Information


United States


GraceNotes is a weekly publication of Bill Knott, Editor/Executive Publisher of Adventist Review/Adventist World magazines.






GRACE AND RISK (December 14, 2018)

This baby born in Bethlehem was both like and unlike every other child —a life so rare, so richly valuable, that still we grope at language edge for words to tell His story, and for names by which to worship Him. He chose fragility, this Lord who once threw stars and galaxies around like pebbles on a beach, so that the powerless would know how well He understands their lives. He entered our dry dustiness where weakness and reliance meet—because grace trusts, grace hopes, grace makes new...


FOR GOODNESS' SAKE (December 7, 2018)

All our goodness flows from grace. One of our favorite illusions is that broken, self-consumed people like us can still spontaneously do noble things out of some “inner light” we claim to have. I have followed one too many Volvos bearing tattered bumper stickers urging “Random Acts of Kindness.” Unless the Holy Spirit has vanished from the universe, there are no such things as random acts of kindness. Unrecognized among the myriad ways we interact with each other—some petty, some brutal—are...


PERSISTENT GRACE (November 30, 2018)

Is there a force in this wide universe more powerful or more patient than the grace of God? Name it if you can: I don’t know of it. If God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, what but our obstinate and persistent refusal could keep Him from clothing us, the objects of His everlasting love, with the spotless robe of Jesus’ perfect righteousness? Unless we refuse Him, and all He’s offering, He will bring us to the banquet hall of grace...


GRATITUDE AND GRACE (November 23, 2018)

Thankfulness is all about our expectations. So long as we think we deserve to be healthy—physically, financially—and that a sick body or an empty wallet is an injustice done to us, we’ll never feel all that grateful when God heals us. If God owes it to us to make and keep us healthy and wealthy, why should we thank Him for it? But if we grasp the deep sacredness of living—that every moment is a gift from the Father’s hand—then everything in us will sing of everything God is doing for us....


GRACE BEYOND FEAR (November 16, 2018)

Fear grips our hearts whenever we assume that all our happiness depends on us. We know our brokenness too well: the foolish choices; missed opportunities; the coldness and the distance caused by hot, close things we’ve said. Unless we’re truly loved in spite of all we’ve done, fear is the natural response to what seems painful randomness. But grace proclaims a holiday from fear—not for an hour or a day, but for as long as we allow ourselves to be surrounded—yes, and held—by never-ending...


GRACE AND CLARITY (November 9, 2018)

Some suppose grace represents a certain casualness in God about what we’ve done—a blessed amnesia that ignores our waywardness. “He moves the lines,” we tell ourselves, as though the One who authored the commandments wasn’t fully serious about them. But the Father sees our faults so clearly that it is only by looking at His Son that He can choose—yes, choose—to unremember what we’ve done. It’s the love He has for Jesus—and for all who likewise love the Saviour—that moves unblinking vigilance...


THE GATE OF GRACE (November 2, 2018)

Those who most object to grace are those who think they need it least—who blithely trust that Jesus has a “higher” way of saving them. No deep repentance, wet with tears, will stain their history: they imagine righteousness will be an earned diploma on some future graduation day.But there’s only one way to the kingdom, and it passes through the gate of grace. No prior goodness lets us enter by some grander, private entrance; no record of abstaining lets us walk apart from those who’ve...


TENACIOUS GRACE (October 26, 2018)

Because we know our wretchedness so well, we think that Jesus is repulsed by us as we are by ourselves. If we could run away from us, we would: why wouldn’t Jesus do the same? Why would He willingly elect to stand by us and wrap us in His arms and bear our awful reputation? But grace defines tenacity—a fierce unwillingness to let us go or drift back into cynical aloneness. Grace holds us; calms us; heals us; stays. There is no hurrying the Lord. He will be there when we next rise: He’ll...



When we’ve tried every other way, we give ourselves—with sighs—to grace. We miss its beauty and its joy because we save it as our last resort, a life ring for the drowning. We strive as though the goal was to use as little of God’s grace as possible, like salt on vegetables, or gas when heating homes. But Jesus wants our joy “full-filled”: abundance is the sign of grace. The life that could be yours can now be yours—without delay, without the misery and thrashing. God saves the desperate,...



If grace were just for me, and not God’s gift to all in need, I might rejoice in my solo salvation and never be a different soul. But “the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all” (Titus 2:11)—for every individual, yes—but also for the whole of us as Jesus’ faithful way to live with and forgive each other. Grace truly known always grows into graciousness: the living shows we’re starting to perceive how great the gift is. When I extend the grace of God, I take it deeper in my...


UNMERITED (October 5, 2018)

We search—in vain—for things in us that might cause God to gift us grace. It couldn’t be our good behavior; perhaps our good intentions? Perhaps our hot/cold love for God on one day stirred Him to extend the mercy we must have? No; no; and no. Grace has no market counterpart—no trade, no barter, no equivalence. It’s Jesus’ sovereign choice to give us what we didn’t earn, we don’t deserve, and on bad days, we even spurn. Our only claim on Christ is on His unforced choice to love those He...


UNLIMITED (September 28, 2018)

There is no grudging in God’s grace—no “Alright, this one time” or “Even though you don’t deserve it.” He never makes forgiveness hang on promises to not sin again. “He knows our frame,” the Scriptures say: “He remembers we are dust.” And all our promises—like those who made them—are dusty, broken, unreliable. God forgives as only a Father can—more eager to restore the relationship than recall the rebellion; more focused on what we may become than what we did to wound Him. Grace flows to us...


JOURNEY TO JOY (September 21, 2018)

On our best days, we fall far short of our inspiring goals. We say the angry words, repeat the wicked gossip, upset the ones we’re pledged to love. And were it not for grace, our story is an endlessly repeating tale of good intentions and bad performances. But grace upends what keeps us mired in our sins, for grace proclaims release from guilt, redemption from our foolishness. We get a new and wonderful reset each time we come to Jesus. The slate is cleaned; the record washed; the sins...


THE HIDDENNESS OF GRACE (September 14, 2018)

When grace has lived a while in us, we wake one day to learn how much we’ve changed, how everything is different. We speak new kindness to the ones who mock us, or who irritate our peace. We listen well to those who never seemed worth hearing. We find our hearts have been enlarged, with room for those we feared or scorned. This is the sign of Jesus living in us, and yes, we never saw it coming. Christ changes every heart He owns, replacing stoniness with love. We get the double blessing of...


MORE ABOUT JESUS (September 7, 2018)

You’d think sometimes it was an opera about us: “I was sinking deep in sin . . . ” “I’m a pilgrim, and I’m a stranger. . . ” “Just as I am, without one plea . . . ” But grace is always, first and last, an anthem about Jesus—His deep kindness; His strong arm; His refusal to give up on us. The song that saints and angels sing is no dull aria on how heroically we battled sin, what we did to earn our stars, or when we shunned a second slice of pie. It’s the whispered wonder from the angels...


GRACE AWAKENINGS (August 31, 2018)

For every “rock the road” conversion on the highway to Damascus, there are a dozen quiet stories where grace gently, slowly lights our lives—like sunrise. Don’t pine for big-time drama, voices thundering at noon, or temporary blindness. Your grace may simply be ascendant hope because you learn that you are loved: what joy to know that darkness grips your life no more! As day comes on and shadows flee, we learn by hours how to live free. Christ gives His light uniquely for our moments in the...


GRACE MOVED BY LOVE (August 24, 2018)

The motive for the grace of God is nothing other than the love of God. It's His unquenchable affection that moves Him to continually arrest our flickering attention; warm our icy hearts; heal our self-inflected wounds; and wash away our sins. Grace isn't given to make us lovable or acceptable, but because we have been, are now, and always will be deeply loved. The prodigal was loved before he repented and came home-and even if he spurned the Father's marvelous forgiveness-for love is how the...


A HYMN TO GRACE (August 17, 2018)

It’s tough to sing of liberating grace when all we know are dirges about effort. We chorus qualities designed to keep us climbing (ever upward!)—songs of courage, risk, and faith—but then discover that we’re badly, sadly lacking in all three. Our promises are “ropes of sand.” Our self-talk leads to critical self-doubt. Unyielding guilt dries up our tongues. But there’s an anthem tuned to hope, and yes, it’s all about the Lord: “We have heard a joyful sound—Jesus saves, Jesus saves!” The...



Believing in the grace of God includes believing that it came to us at the right time. In kindness, Jesus offers us the lifeline just when we want and need it—neither too soon, when we would have scoffed at rescue, nor too late, when we would have been completely sunk. If we imagine we would have welcomed grace much earlier, we underestimate our own deceitful hearts—and underestimate God’s deft and flawless timing. God’s grace is always right on time—at just the point we finally agree how...


IN FULL, (August 3, 2018)

For all the healing that it brings, grace causes one great, fatal injury. Our pride—the jest that we are masters of our fate—cannot survive when we admit how fully lost we are—and fully saved because of grace. To be in grace is to always be in debt—gladly, joyfully in debt to One who smiles at all our ledgers. Christ paid the debt, erased the loss, so satisfied His Father’s justice that it now appears we never sinned. And so we dare not glory in ourselves: we glory only in the cross. The...