The longer I live as a disciple of Jesus, the more I am amazed at the incredible nature of God’s grace toward us.
Here are four thoughts about the grace of God that stand out to me:
1. People often misunderstand what is meant by “grace.”
If we are late on a payment or have forgotten to return a movie or book to the library, we are often given what is called a “grace period.” This is when the individual loaning something to us is willing to extend a little more time for us to pull together the money or to drop off the library book. They do this because they trust that we will come through with it. “Grace periods” like these apply when we haven’t really done anything horrible, we just had a lapse in memory or made a mistake. But God’s grace isn’t for people who have made mistakes, it’s for people who have deliberately sinned against him! God doesn’t forgive mistakes; he only forgives sins.
This means we have to admit to a lot more than simply not deserving to be saved–humans are actually ill-deserving. We deserve the most severe punishment for disregarding the laws of God. Only when this is clearly taught will people understand the measure of God’s grace toward them.
2. Grace shatters any sense of pride produced by accomplishing something.
Salvation in all other religions is based on human achievement, not divine grace. However, the Bible teaches us that our salvation isn’t something that is earned or merited by anything we do. Some may feel that people need to do something to warrant forgiveness before having it extended to them. But this is not the nature of God’s grace—It is simply by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8-9). This is so that no one can brag about the status of their relationship with God.
Paul wrote in Romans 3:
“What becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith.
For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.”
3. People naturally resent the idea of grace.
We want to see people who hurt us get punished. It goes against our grain to withhold dispensing justice to those who deserve it. As a matter of fact, most people probably consider it foolish to show grace to someone who has hurt you or wronged you, because it doesn’t mesh with human rationale. But that is the very reason we need it so badly. Turning the other cheek and freely giving grace to those who hurt us becomes much easier when we remember that “God demonstrates his love toward us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).”
4. God is by nature very gracious.
This is good news for all of us! God shows grace to all of his creatures every day. Matthew 5:45 tells us that “He makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” The even better news is that God’s graciousness toward believers extends much farther than just taking care of our earthly needs–he has made us who were formerly his enemies into his friends and removed the penalty of our sins so that we can spend eternity with him in Heaven. As the old hymn by John Newton goes…”Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me! I once was lost, but now am found. Was blind, but now I see!”