Grace. It’s a term that’s much easier to understand than experience. Actually, I’m not sure we understand it very well, either.
Begin with this thought: Reconciliation rarely occurs without sacrifice. By giving his one and only Son, God took the initiative in healing our broken relationship with him. He made the supreme sacrifice for us that we might be reconciled to him. Jesus’ death was the sacrifice for your sins, yet he lives. His death makes it possible for you to be saved, to be reconciled to God, to fix the broken tie that sin caused between you and God.
Remember, you were dead in your sins, but in Christ you have life. You were dead and buried in baptism and coming out of the water came out alive, reconciled to God. You are now his child, you have been saved by God’s grace. You gave your life to God; you are a living sacrifice, pure and holy – holy and pleasing to God.
Do you have a malnourished view of grace? It’s not too hard to tell. Do you live in a constant state of fear and discouragement that you aren’t measuring up to God’s standards? Do you wonder if God’s forgiveness covers your worst sins? If so, you’re failing to benefit from the unmerited acceptance God offers us through the grace of the cross. Or maybe you have the ill-informed perspective that being a Christian really isn’t all that difficult. You think the Gospel of grace is great news for non-Christians but rarely think about it as a believer. Your successes tempt you to pride, while your failures produce discouragement. Both are rooted in self-sufficiency rather than humble dependence on God’s grace.
God’s grace truly is amazing. Many of the songs we sing focus on the awe-inspiring reality that God has fully and freely forgiven our many sins through the substitutionary sacrifice of the Son of God at Calvary. But grace includes even more! His grace extends far beyond that event, in both directions. It was God’s grace that chose us in Christ to be His precious possession before we were even born. (Eph. 1:4; 2 Tim. 1:9) God’s grace gives us strength to turn from sin and walk in righteousness. (Titus 2:11-14) It is God’s grace that will enable us to faithfully persevere until our last breath. (1 Cor. 1:4-9) And if that weren’t enough, God tells us in Ephesians that in the coming ages He will “show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” (Eph. 2:7) Endless grace!
If grace seems like a foreign concept to you, I’d highly recommend you buy and study two of Jerry Bridges’ books, Transforming Grace and The Discipline of Grace. Don’t spend another day missing out on the glorious riches of grace in our Savior.