What is it about grace that is really difficult to understand—especially when it comes to our relationship to God? For many, the term grace itself is very difficult to define. We think of various ideas of grace. One might be that a person is thoughtful and giving—they show or express goodwill toward someone else. We would say it means an act of kindness that is unexpected. We also might describe it as a person who acts politely and in a pleasant manner.
These are all truly expressions of the term grace in some way, yet when we speak of God’s grace in relationship with His people, it even goes deeper. God knows us intimately. He knows our every deed and every thought. He is also perfect in every way and is never motivated in His lovingkindness toward us out of guilt since He is pure, perfect, and holy. God extends to us His love, kindness, and favor even when He already knows we don’t deserve it. Now a person may extend undeserved kindness toward another, but we don’t see into that person’s heart. We may let go and extend forgiveness and favor toward someone for a few things we know where we have been wronged, but God’s love, forgiveness, and favor that He gives to us are far greater because there is nothing hidden from His sight.
This is where God’s grace is hard to wrap our minds around. His expression of love, forgiveness, patience, and favor toward us is a gift that is given in spite of all of the sin, ugliness, and wrongs that we have done. When we have been sinned against or someone does something very wrong against us, we want justice to be done. If it is a crime, we do not want it to go unpunished. This is natural for us to think this way. We have this saying, “You do the crime, you do the time.” We know that there has to be a payment for the crimes that people commit. You might notice that if someone else wrongs us badly, we want them to receive the fully penalty of the law. If we are the one that has wronged someone else, we want the person(s), judge, and the justice system to be lenient on us and give us as much mercy as possible.
Here is where the grace of God as found in the Bible is so unique. Our perfect, Creator God, who knows our every misdeed, wrong, and sin (which is ultimately all against him), sent His Son, Jesus to come and live perfectly among us, without sin, and He took the penalty for our sin in our place. We deserved it, not Him…and there is grace…God’s unmerited favor. We cannot earn His favor, His love, His kindness, His goodness, His forgiveness. It was already paid for though His Son, Jesus.
As first-responders to this news, we acknowledge that we have sinned. Our right relationship with God comes through our faith in Him for what He has done through Jesus’ death to take our place and His resurrection to life to conquer sin once and for all. He alone has the power to give us eternal life. He is a living Savior.
The Bible says in Ephesians 2:8-9, “For it is by grace you have been saved through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is a gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast.”
This is why it is called, “Amazing Grace”. We cannot earn all of what He has sacrificed and paid for on our behalf. We accept it as a gift by faith. If you haven’t already, may you accept God’s gift and unmerited favor towards you today.