Are you familiar with the word “Grace”? There are many meanings and definitions of the word, but only one has power. Dictionary.com says grace is: “The freely given, unmerited favor and love of God.” Freely given, you can’t pay for it or earn it. Unmerited, none of us deserve it. Grace is, by definition a free gift of favor and love from God for you. Doesn’t that sound amazing? Who doesn’t love a free gift?
How many of you reading this have been around long enough to know that a “free gift” isn’t always all it’s cracked up to be? I really started to learn this lesson when I left home and went to college. The free t-shirt and a two-liter of Mountain Dew I got for signing up for a credit card came with some strings attached. As children, we excitedly accepted any free gift we were offered. My favorite free gift was a sucker when my mom took me to the bank. With age comes wisdom, experience, and skepticism. Maybe that is why we tend to struggle so much with the idea of grace.
By the time we reach adulthood we are very aware that sin exists, both in the world and in us. If you are a parent, you have realized that sin is not something you need to teach a young child. They can figure out how to be naughty all on their own.
We all seem to react to our sin differently. Some of us try to hide it, like Adam and Eve with their homemade fig leaf undies. We feel shame for the thing (sin) that separates us from God. Some of us shift the blame somewhere else; again, Adam and Eve. Adam said, “this woman you gave me caused me to sin.” Eve quickly came to her own defense and pointed out that the serpent deceived her, and it was not her fault either.
Maybe you are not a blamer or a shamer; maybe you are a good deed doer. Have you ever felt bad for something you have done and tried to do something good, to in some way, cancel that debt?
Let me be clear here that none of these things will work. You were created in the image of God. He is perfect and Holy and he cannot be in the presence of sin. It literally separates us from God. That’s why sin makes everyone feel so bad. We inherently know we have separated ourselves and we want it made right, but we go about it in the wrong way.
We complicate things and try to hide it, blame it away, and fix it ourselves. God knows us because he created us. He knew our flesh would try to leave Him out of the equation and we would think we could save ourselves. He designed salvation in such a way that only Jesus could provide it. Ephesians 2:8 says:
“It is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.”
God loves us so much that He gave us His only son, to come into the world, and be the perfect sacrifice. He died so the brokenness that sin created between us and God could be restored. We are given eternal life instead of what we deserve which is eternal death and eternal separation from God. Why would He do that? Why would he withhold punishment and instead, give us a free gift? It doesn’t make sense.
That’s what makes grace so amazing. I love the lyric from the song What a Beautiful Name, it says, “He didn’t want heaven without us, so Jesus you brought heaven down. My sin was great, your love was greater. What could separate us now?” This song so beautifully paints the picture of grace. He chose us, He loves us and He wants us, not because we are good, but because He is good. That’s grace!