The grace of God…it’s a tough subject for me. That may sound peculiar to many of you, but the reality of God’s grace in my life can be a hard thing for me to swallow. First, I am honest enough to know that I am undeserving of anything, specifically something as profound as the grace of an Almighty God. You see, I’m someone who adamantly disagrees with the current trend we’re now seeing in culture, a trend that lends the thought of everyone deserving a trophy simply because they showed up. It’s political correctness and entitlement mentality on steroids, and it’s gobbling up things of real value, things like diligent preparation, robust effort, and quality of performance…things that actually matter in the real world. So, grace is hard for me, because I know that I haven’t done anything to deserve God’s grace. Nothing. I receive an incredibly beautiful trophy everyday for the work and effort that Jesus put in on my behalf. I’m underserving to receive it, and its place in my life often causes me to feel guilt. We can call that feeling conviction, and conviction is a good thing, but where grace is concerned, the feeling is still often the same for me…guilt.
The word “grace” in the New Testament is the word “charis,” and it means “blessing, favor, or kindness.” Being kind to someone is one thing, but when you couple grace as an act of Almighty God, you have something entirely different. God is not simply “being kind” to me or His children; instead, God’s grace is sparing me the curse that my sin deserves, a curse that should lead me to an eternal separation from Him and a future in a place that Scripture calls the Lake of Fire. It’s not a spa; it’s eternal and everlasting hell, and it’s what I deserve because of my sin.
So let’s be clear, God’s grace is doing much more for me than simply bestowing an act of kindness; that definition diminishes the inexplicable nature of this marvelous gift. Instead, He’s saving my eternal life, a life that, were it not for Christ, could never do anything more than grovel at His feet for a mercy that I am not due. God’s grace, for those who know Him, is a manifestation of severely unmerited favor and the promise of a blessed everlasting life in paradise upon those who are most definitively unqualified and undeserving…all because of the sacrifice of the innocent life of the compassionate Savior, Jesus Christ.
Our Salvation is Through Grace...
Restating the obvious, we can’t earn favor with God on our own. Mankind has proven time and time again that it is our sin nature which tends to rule the day, and it’s exactly that nature which prevents us free access into God’s eternity. Ephesians 2:8 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God…” Interestingly, it is not our faith that initially makes salvation possible; it’s grace. Contrary to the belief of many, we can’t simply decide when we’re going to accept Christ at any given moment. We must first be drawn to Christ by the conviction of the Spirit of God, a conviction which is not working under the auspices faith…but of grace. Because of Christ’s sacrifice, God’s grace then works to effect conviction upon the hearts of the sinful that are running away from God. At the point of initial conviction, true faith may not play any role in the equation, but it is because of grace that the sinful and rebellious underserving are pursued by a holy and righteous God for the unmerited gift of salvation. Incredible.
Why would God choose to pursue a world of people living in open rebellion to His perfect will?
It’s not faith; it’s grace.
Why would Christ, the blameless Son of God, willingly forsake His own sovereignty and allow Himself to be beaten and nailed, without remorse, to a manmade instrument of torture and death…and all to bring redemption to His executioners?
It’s not faith; it’s grace.
Grace is a powerful thing. It’s an undeserved benevolence bestowed on those of us who are rightfully owed nothing. And, the wellspring of God’s great grace is eternal.
I bear the guilt of my sin on a daily basis, and that guilt is daily covered by the blood of an innocent Christ. This fact does not often escape my thoughts, although it can frequently escape my behavior. When it does, and the magnitude of my sin nature firmly embeds itself in the forefront of my mind, the guilt and conviction I experience can be crushing. Again, I don’t expect a trophy for bad performance, and it’s hard for me to wrap my little mind around a grace that freely flows into my life, in spite of my often lethargic, marginal, and often circumstantial attempts of sincerity regarding my walk with Christ. I should do better, but I thank God for conviction. No one needs prayer more than the weak and sinful author of this blog post.
As we walk through the steps of our existence on this earth, it’s important to come to the understanding that we are not perfect, we are not capable of working out our own righteousness before a Sovereign and all-knowing God, and without grace, our very existence would encounter a paradigm shift in a bad direction. I thank God for His grace. I thank God that He views me and my sin through the purposefully shed blood of His Son, a Son who chose to hang on Calvary’s cross in my place and for my sin. I thank God for my feelings of conviction and guilt, and I thank Him for loving me through the profound weakness of my flesh, the brokenness of my flawed character, and the often inattentive nature of my communication with Him. I’m humbled that His Spirit continues to return, day after day, moment by moment, to lead His struggling servant who has often wandered well off the path. Like a good shepherd, He comes looking for His lost sheep. His grace finds me, most of the time at my weakest, and nudges me back into the shadow and protection of His very mighty wings.
I’m sure of very little in my life, but I’m absolutely positive that I don’t deserve God’s grace. I’m also absolutely confident that Christ loves me without end, and it is His blood that imparts to me, not only righteousness in the eyes of Almighty God, but everlasting grace for what I often make to be a very rough journey. I am, without a doubt, God’s very troubled child. And yet, He gives more grace.
Keith Beatty is a Worship, Missions and Media Pastor living in North Alabama. He's excited and very humbled to be a follower of Jesus Christ!