Note: I wrote this in June and it was posted on pureHOPE's website (purehope.net), the ministry I was working for this summer. I have decided to post it now here.
If you have attended church for any period of time, you have probably heard the concept of grace talked about and sung about, but more likely than not, you have never heard it explained with any depth.
Imagine you are in a courtroom. You have been indicted for a crime and are prepared to spend 20 years in prison serving out your sentence for, after all, that would be justice, and maintaining justice is the purpose of the legal system. But suppose an innocent man were to walk into the room and offer to take the penalty for your crime upon himself, free of charge. That would be grace. Grace is unmerited favor that one shows to another. It’s what God demonstrated on the cross, as depicted in Romans 5:8. “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Although we were spiritually dead and deserving of eternal separation from God because of our sin, God lavished us in grace by taking this penalty upon himself.
This is a beautiful truth, an understanding of which should strike awe and reverence, but does grasping the concept of grace matter beyond that? Certainly. When you look at Scripture, you actually see that the effect of not understanding this concept is polarizing. Let me explain.
A failure to understand grace can be drastic on two ends, depending on which boat you are in. If you are caught in sin, it will lead to shame. If you are walking in holiness, it will lead to pride.
Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
His grace is greater than your sin. The message of the gospel is that we have all messed up, but Jesus knew all your sins before you even committed them and still decided to give His life up for you. If you have trusted in Jesus for your salvation, you are a child of the one true King. Your Father desires intimacy with you. Refuse to believe the lie that He feels disdain towards you because of your sin. Be freed from shame.
1 Corinthians 15:10
But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.
If you are walking in the light and in holiness, praise Him. Remember where you were when He saved you, and praise Him for where you are now. “The ground is level at the foot of the cross.” We all come to Him dirty, so whatever cleanliness you wear is only His righteous garments covering you. A failure to understand that whatever likeness we bear to Him is a result of His grace will ultimately result in pride and self-worship, which stands in direct contrast to the worship of God in spirit and truth that He desires (see John 4:23-24).
Meditate on this truth. Think about it often. Press deeper into the character of God and pray that He would give you a deeper understanding of your need for Him in all seasons of life.
Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”