Christians often speak about grace with a thousand qualifications. They add all sorts of buts and brakes. Listen for them! Our greatest concern, it seems, is that people will take advantage of grace and use it as a justification to live licentiously. Sadly, while attacks on morality typically come from outside the church, attacks on grace typically come from inside the church. The reason is because somewhere along the way, we’ve come to believe that this whole enterprise is about behavioral modification, and grace just doesn’t possess the teeth to scare us into changing, so we end up hearing more about what grace isn’t than we do about what grace is.
Where disobedience flourishes, it is not the fault of too much grace but rather of our failure to grasp the depth of God’s one-way love for us in the midst of our transgressions. Grace refuses to be controlled by our innate sense of fairness, reciprocity and evenhandedness. It defies logic. It has nothing to do with earning, merit or deservedness. Grace is unconditional acceptance given to an undeserving person by an unobligated giver. It is one-way love.
But while grace does not demand payment in return, it does something fantastic: it inspires the very things that the law demands. The law prescribes good works, but only grace can produce them. It’s only grace that can change a heart and produce law-fulfilling works of mercy and selfless acts of service to our neighbor.
Dearest Lord, we can never thank You enough for Your radical love, grace and mercy to us, demonstrated so spectacularly by the cross of Christ. We ask for an ever-deepening revelation and appreciation of just how profound this grace is; and may it produce the fruit of the Spirit in our lives, all for Your glory, purposes and pleasure. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.