Grace is the free favor of God shown in the our salvation and receiving of blessings. It is the mercy that God gave to humanity by sending his son to die on a cross, thus delivering eternal salvation. You have God’s favor, have eternal life and are restored to His family when you accept this wonderful gift by believing in Jesus.
It’s that simple.
GRACE vs. EFFORT
Grace is free or it isn’t grace. Can you earn it? Work hard to achieve it? Be good enough for it to be bestowed on you? NO! Grace is free. If not, then it’s not grace. Anything you earn is not grace.
Here’s the bad news: Your best isn’t good enough to earn the favor, grace, or acceptance of God. His standard is perfection. He doesn’t grade on a curve. Even if you think you are better than 99% of those out there [you’re not] that’s still not good enough.
Here’s the good news: God’s desire to have you reconciled [reconnected] with Him was/is so strong that He came up with a solution to our problem for us. Because perfection will always escape us, God, the Father sent the perfect God, the Son to be our substitution. That is, when we believe Jesus is who He says He is, God, the Father substitutes Jesus’ perfection for our lack of it.
Simply by believing, Father now accepts Jesus’ perfection in place of our own. Not because we earned it, deserved it or even wished for it. But because of God, the Father’s intense desire for us to come home and back into relationship with Him. That is grace. That’s awesome! And that’s why I have dedicated my life to Him and to make this wonderful news of grace known to others. It’s that good!
Amazingly, of all people, the religious ones have the most trouble with this. They would rather grit their teeth and force their way into God’s grace through rules and laws. It doesn’t work. It may feed your pride, but it doesn’t work.
Religious types also seem to want to make sure that those around them know there is no free lunch in God’s Kingdom. They want you to know that the only way to stay in God’s ‘good books’ is through striving and clenching your fists to resist doing anything wrong. Because, if you do fail, God’s love and acceptance will be jerked away from you until you again make yourself acceptable to Him. Acceptance only comes through achievement for religious types.
I BEG TO DIFFER
Jesus paid for it all on our behalf, so it costs NOTHING. It’s because of grace [undeserved favor] born out of God’s love for us and His desire to be reconnected to us that it is possible. Thankfully, it is not based on my/our performance.
Recently I had coffee with a young man who is new to all of this. He received reconciliation with Father through believing in Jesus. But He was struggling with how ‘someone like him’ could ever be acceptable to God. He lived in fear of one day standing before God and being punished for all the things he has done in his life and is still doing. He had received the gift from God but missed that He was now a child of God and all the past, present and future mistakes and failures where wiped clean thanks to Jesus.
We were sitting in a coffee shop drinking our coffee discussing this when I asked him what were the chances that the people working there would come over to our table and demand that we pay for our coffee. He said that would not happen because I had already paid for the coffee at the counter when we received it.
Even though he hadn’t paid for it, it had been paid for so therefore nothing more was required of him. EXACTLY! And that’s why we need not worry about being acceptable to God or paying for our mistakes later. Because Jesus has already paid for them, there is nothing owing!
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE…
This understandably was great news to my friend. But then came the kicker. I suggested to him that not only would the people working in the coffee shop not demand payment for this coffee we were drinking, but they would also give him a gift card for all the ‘coffee’ he would ever want or need. That the card would never run out. He suggested to me that I was ridiculous.
He is right. The coffee shop would never do that. But Father did. Thanks to Jesus. If the ‘coffee’ represents our failings, failures and screw ups, grace tells us that Jesus paid for them all. Not just the ones in the past. Not just the ones in the present. But also those in the future. God’s gift card never runs out. It truly is a MASTER card! Sorry, I couldn’t resist.
As I write this I can barely sit still because of the excitement that this truth causes in me. Someone told me years ago that until I say, ‘it’s too good to be true, I don’t really understand God’s grace’. It is too good to be true, yet it is. Yes, yes, yes.
SO HOW DO I GET IN ON THIS?
Remember, it is a gift. Unearned. But there are a few things we can do to position ourselves to receive it.
Humble ourselves. When we humble ourselves we admit that we need Him. We admit that we cannot make it without Him and His gift to us. The older I get the easier it is to do this. Maybe it’s because I have less to prove or maybe it’s because each day brings me more proof that I am hopeless and helpless without His grace.
Stop working and believe. I’m not saying you should quit your job. Remember we are talking about grace and being right before God. Stop working to earn it. Stop striving and instead simply receive the gift of His grace. It’s the only way. And that way is guaranteed!
Receive more of Christ. I’m not talking about receiving Christ when you are saved. That only needs to happen once. I’m referring to daily humbling ourselves, deciding to rely on Him again today and receive His grace. I’m talking about having the same reliance on Father every day that you had when you first came home. He will see you through whatever comes at you as you rely on Him.
Think of it. Acceptance to God simply because He loves you and your acceptance of Jesus.
Oh, how I love Jesus and Father’s amazing gift of grace.