What Is Grace?


For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives. - Titus 2:11

Take a moment and think of the person you look up to most in this world. Perhaps it’s your mom or your dad. Maybe it’s a sibling or a best friend. Maybe a pastor or an author. In all of our lives, there are people who we love and admire - who possess character traits that set them apart from everyone else in our lives.

When you think about the character of God, what do you think of? What are some traits that come to mind that set Him apart? It could be argued that the defining characteristic of God is this: grace. Grace radically alters our understanding of and heart towards our Heavenly Father.

To put it in simple terms, grace is getting what we don’t deserve, or receiving something that we did nothing to earn. This is Jesus in a nutshell. Before we go there though, it’s important to note that grace is a part of God that cannot be separated from Him. Grace is who He is. When we see grace as a part of God that never changes or ebbs and flows with emotion, it changes our entire understanding of Him. He is grace, and that is why it was so fitting for Him to send Himself in human form to die for us, so that we would not need to earn our way back to Him.

We live in a world that operates on transactions. We pay this, we get that. We do this, we earn that. We clock in to work, we get paid. God does not operate this way.

Michael Horton (author of Putting Amazing Back into Grace) writes, “In grace, God gives nothing less than Himself. Grace, then, is not a third thing or substance mediating between God and sinners, but is Jesus Christ in redeeming action.”

In His love for us (which we did nothing to earn, by the way), He desired our salvation enough that He made a way where there was none. And that is the ultimate grace.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. - Romans 5:8

Grace is something that theologians have studied for centuries, that pastors could never preach enough sermons on, and that we as believers will never fully wrap our minds around. But that is also the beauty of it. We have been gifted this ultimately good and beautiful gift, and it is one we will get to enjoy and more fully appreciate as our lives take different turns and as we enter different seasons. Regardless of if you are 19 or 99, grace is for you and it is for now. There is nothing you have to do to earn it, your debt has already been paid in full by Christ, who made a way for you the day He went to the cross. Praise God!

Reflection

1. What does grace mean to you? Do you feel you have been viewing your relationship with God on a transaction basis?

2. What are some areas you have been striving to earn your salvation? Or to earn a good -standing with God? Take some time to pray through those, giving them to God and accepting the grace of God through Christ.

Prayer

Father, thank You for Your grace. Thank You that You love Your children so deeply that You would see beyond our failures and into our future and our potential far before we were ever able to. Thank You for Your love and for the forgiveness and freedom You made available through Christ. I pray that I would journey into the depths of Your grace more every day. Thank You for the gift of that journey. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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