Grace changes everything.
Whereas most people of religion believe – or at least, act as if they believe – that there’s something they need to ‘do’ in order to ‘obtain’ God’s favour, Grace says that we already have God’s favour! It changes the way we relate to God, and to life, and to each other. It’s huge and incomprehensible, and yet it’s also so simple. All we need to ‘do’ is accept it in order to gain all its benefits.
The word ‘Grace’ has been watered down in Christian circles to the point that many in Christian circles don’t realise its true meaning any more. Grace is in fact the completely undeserved favour of God – undeserved in that we didn’t do anything, nor do we need to do anything – to deserve it. He likes us, loves us, thinks the world of us, dotes on us, and, well, He’s just thrilled with us. Ignore anyone who tries to tell you otherwise! I’d call that Good News! It’s counterintuitive, so much the opposite of what Religion has told us for centuries. It’s free, bought, paid for and credited to our accounts.
“Grace is irrational to the thinker. It is unfair to the judge. Grace is foolishness to the achiever. It is a waste to the selfish. Grace is a mistake to the disciplinarian. It is shame to the religionist. But it is a stream of water to the thirsty. It’s freedom to the imprisoned. It is life to the dead. Grace is rest to the tired. It is another chance to the failed. It is hope to the despondent. It is a way out for the lost and a way in for those who can see the Door.”
I am spending much time in exploring Grace and what it means. Fortunately, I am in a Facebook group where we do that quite a bit too. Here’s what my friend Mo Thomas wrote recently, and also some comments from his readers:
“Cheap” grace. “Hyper” grace. “False” grace.
I’ve heard these and other derogatory terms tied to grace…fairly often in the past few years. Please note: It’s NOT grace that needs to be labeled as “cheap”, it’s the person’s cheap perspective that is evidently causing the perceived abuse.
When grace is misused, it doesn’t and can’t, in any way shape or form, lessen the Father’s heart in freely and lavishly giving it to us as the means to conform us into His image.
We sin just fine “without” His grace, after all.
Calling grace “cheap” as a result of its misuse is akin to calling electricity bad when you electrocute yourself. Think about this!
What I’ve seen most often is that we quickly agree that it’s God’s Grace that brings us to the point of salvation . . . but then we rely heavily on law, rules, obedience, sin-management, and diligent effort in order to bring us into maturity – rather than continuing to rely on His Grace to grow us up into His image. It’s the substance that allows us to live out a holy, set-apart life . . . in Christ.
Rom 6:14 Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.
Ephesians 1:6 So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son.
WE are the ones who attempt to cheapen grace by not allowing it to complete it’s work in us. But, our attempts don’t and can’t take away from its Eternal Value.
“Free is too humbling and confusing for some people. Some people enjoy the pride of earning what they have. Some people resent the unfairness of free” – Maureen
“The people who use those labels are just jealous 😉” – Anthony
“They really are, [they] can’t abide the freedom we walk in” – Sara
“When people talk about abusing grace my thought is – isn’t that the point?” – Al
I do think that those who oppose the current Grace thinking are offended that there’s nothing that anyone needs to ‘do’ in order to ‘earn’ God’s Grace. No amount of good deeds or observance of Rules makes us any better off before God; conversely, nothing we can do will make Him love us any the less. This is offensive to the Law-dependent believer, because it means that all their best and all their worst makes no difference, and this is a huge blow to their pride. They think they are doing so well, but actually it makes no difference at all! And that’s offensive to those who rely on their own good works. I understand that. Like I said above, it’s counterintuitive.
How to tell if you’re walking in Grace? Easy. If you’re feeling the need to ‘do, do, do’, then that’s not Grace. Grace says it’s ‘done, done, done’; there’s nothing left for you to do!
All you need to ‘do’ is to access it; accept it; agree with it. It’s yours for the taking! Don’t be put off by those who speak against ‘The Grace Movement’ as if it’s something dangerous. Also, like everything else in Christendom, the word ‘Grace’ has been hijacked again and again; the chief danger of this is that it causes people to miss its full and true impact. But I have explained in this post what it means; you have seen its hallmarks in the Steve McVey quotation above, and I’ve even given you a simple method of how to distinguish real Grace. To recap: if it relies on you having to do, conform or earn, then it’s not Grace, because Grace is by definition unmerited. There’s nothing you can do to improve on that! And that in itself is such a release!
For more on extravagant Grace, check out this article on my blog. It’s more of the same but rom a different angle. And once you walk in Grace, don’t let Law dilute it. Read Paul’s letter to the Galatians with the lens of Grace in place and see what he had to say to those people where people of the Law were trying to take away their freedom. Read it like that and it’s a real eye-opener!
Be blessed 🙂