For those of us who believe, grace is the essence of Christianity. Grace is amazing. Or, is it? If asked, how would you describe grace? Would it be, “a little underwhelming”? If so, you’re not alone. The crisis of modern-day Christianity is our apathy toward grace.
Maybe it’s the over/misuse of the word that leaves us gravely numb. We’ve come to believe we can manufacture grace on our own. Like it’s an acquired skill. After all, someone can walk with the “grace” of a fashion model. Or, grace is perceived as a personal quality; a kindhearted leader has “grace”, right? Frivolously, gracious words are something we can just think up!
In addition, too many believe the Bible is a nice story. It’s thousands of years old and irrelevant. As a result, our culture denies human depravity. Today’s only sin is to say that certain behaviors are sinful! Even amongst those who “believe”: grace and amazing have been separated by liberal Christianity, which is no Christianity at all.
No wonder we are unimpressed. My intent is to put the wonder back in grace. If you are with me, read on.
Grace is wholly God’s
Grace is anything but “man”ufactured. Every Biblical reference teaches that grace is from God. His grace is poured out. Luke 2:40. His grace is given. Proverbs 3:34. His grace is sufficient. 2 Corinthians 12:9. His grace is empowerment. 2 Timothy 2:1.
His grace is concessions, blessings, and so much more. The word grace, from the Greek word charis, preeminently describes God’s favor toward humanity. Apart from God, grace does NOT exist.
Who needs grace?
To understand the need, we must absorb this: every little white lie, every cheated on school exam (or tax return), all gossip, drunkenness, sexual sin, and murder – it’s all equal on God’s scoreboard. And there’s Hell to pay.
The penalty is not what many envision. There will be no BBQ’s or tailgate parties, no music and dancing, not even one cheap red-solo-cup will be found.
There will be judgment – here on earth. We don’t talk about God’s wrath anymore. No one wants to hear it. However, the Bible has a lot to say about the coming wrath. So, God thinks it’s an important topic.
The coming judgment will make the Holocaust look like a trip to Disneyland. ISIS will seem like good Samaritans. Then comes Hell, where, death would be relief, but death won’t come. Once in hell there’s no escape from torment. Now make this all personal. Who needs grace?
The purpose of Grace is…
Loved One, with every ounce of wrath poured out, God’s heart will break. It doesn’t have to end this way! For anyone.
Motivated by grace, God gave Himself away. His heart longed for everyone to return to Him. So, while we were still pridefully resisting Him, He chose to suffer the most barbaric punishment conceivable. On the cross, Jesus absorbed our punishment – God’s wrath (all of it)!
You didn’t ask for it, earn it, or deserve it. His grace is yours – for free. The only thing you can do is decide: grace, or wrath?
Grace is Unique
All other religions claim similar eternal-life exclusions. Most require a perfectly lived life for entrance into their “heaven” (which, btw, doesn’t exist). To win favor with other deities, a step-by-impossible-step solution must be adhered to.
Not so with Christianity. God’s grace is enough. Through His grace, escape from wrath is assured. Peace with God is made possible. Heaven is certain. We’ll experience the fullness of God’s grace in Heaven. But, what about now?
Even if you’ve received grace, if you don’t fully grasp what has been done for YOU, you will live a disenchanted, ineffective life. Who wants to live that way? Grace is the power for new life – NOW! Grace turns Hitler-likes into Mother Teresas. If grace can do that, imagine what grace can do for you!
Now it’s your turn. Reflect on this small, but, grossly misunderstood word. Do your own research. Pray for insight. Then, live in awe of the grace that’s been given to YOU.