By Chris WittsSunday 23 Jun 2013Morning Devotions with Chris WittsUncategorizedReading Time: 0 minutes
We’re often guilty of using words we don’t really understand. ‘Grace’ is one such word,ambiguous enough to be said often,perhaps without us ever really understanding what we’re saying. One of the 20 or so definitions of the word in the Macquarie Dictionary is ‘a short prayer before or after a meal,in which a blessing is asked,and thanks are given’. To ‘say grace’ is perhaps the most common use of the word,but is possibly a bit limited as a definition.
I even discovered that it’s possible to buy ‘grace’ over the internet,after I entered the word into the Google search engine.
Yet surely neither the prayer of thanks for food,nor the product for sale on the net,is the same as the true biblical concept of grace. When Christians talk about ‘grace’,it usually refers to something far more significant.
Into the equation
In his book What’s So Amazing About Grace?,author Phillip Yancey says that the concept of grace ‘contains the essence of the gospel as a drop of water can contain the image of the sun’. So grace is not only central to the Christian faith; it is its essence.
I once heard it said that if justice equals getting what you deserve and mercy equals not getting what you deserve,then grace equals getting what you don’t deserve. This is a definition that can well be applied to biblical examples of grace.
A central belief
At the centre of Christian belief is Jesus’ death and resurrection; through this act He gave us the gift of His own life even though we had not earned it; He died on the cross in order that we might be saved,even though we did not deserve it.
At a time when so much depends on what we do,where our actions can bring us either acceptance or rejection,it’s little wonder the idea of grace is foreign,as grace is not based on what we do; grace is the free and unmerited favour of God shown towards humanity.
God’s ongoing grace
I always remember ‘grace’ as an acronym,’God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense’. Corny perhaps,but it’s one of those simple things that remind me of both the source of the gift,and the reality that all gifts costs someone something. And God’s grace continues today.
A free gift
With this understanding,it’s plain to see you cannot buy grace – not on the internet,not at your chemist,not even in a church! It is something that needs simply to be acknowledged and accepted as an undeserved gift from a loving God.
Of course,we as humans are capable of demonstrating grace as well,and one of the hopes of Christianity is that God’s grace will be passed on to others indiscriminately by all who receive it.
There is no more beautiful word in the English language than that word ‘grace’. In a social setting it describes a person with poise,kindness and charm. But God’s grace is much more. Grace is God’s unmerited favour. Unmerited means ‘unearned’. God extended His help to us when we did nothing to earn that help. There was nothing we could do to patch up a broken relationship between us and the holy,sinless God.
God’s grace is for ALL people,not just the religious ones. And the amazing thing is that God’s grace doesn’t just leave us where we are. Through His grace,He works in us continually,even when we’re not aware of it,helping us to be better people,as we look at ways to improve ourselves,His Holy Spirit is at work in us refining us. We call this experience “Christian Growth”. He is at work in us all the time,24 hours a day. If our ‘inner eyes’ were more opened,we would see Him everywhere. He is not ‘up there’ somewhere in the heavens. He is closer to us than breathing. Everyone can experience His presence and grace.
The good news is as Paul explains in Ephesians 2:8-9,”It is by God’s grace that you have been saved through faith,It is not the result of your own efforts,but God’s gift,so that no-one can boast about it.”