Grace: Unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification. A virtue coming from God. A state of sanctification enjoyed through divine grace. Approval, favor, mercy, pardon, disposition to or an act or instance of kindness, courtesy, or clemency.
I love God’s grace. I like cuddling up to the knowledge that He loves me; accepts my sinful imperfect self while giving me undeserved forgiveness, unconditionally. In God’s grace I find stability and security because there isn’t anything I can do that will separate me from the love of God. If I disappoint Him, He won’t leave me, or hate me, or ignore me for a period of time. God’s grace and love are merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.
By God’s design, humans are grace seekers. We spend tremendous energy looking for love and in that love we desire grace. Grace that allows us to be ourselves quirks and all, and that will forgive us when we make a mistake. How many songs have been written about searching for love; a love that will accept us for who we are and forgive our faults; a love undeserved?
Of course, there are many people who believe they have found true love and are overcome by the knowledge that someone accepts them completely. However, the honeymoon always ends and the unconditional lover becomes annoyed with our quirks and eventually finds it hard to forgive our misdoings. Quickly, the notion of unconditional love fades away. But God’s grace and love do not fade away; they are the same yesterday, today, and forever.
When we accept God’s grace and start to comprehend the spiritual depth of it, we become grateful, and grateful people are happy people. As we grow in God’s grace we realize that it isn’t a one way street; those who receive God’s grace are compelled to humbly give grace to others. Sometimes this means we must lay down our righteous judgment or individual rights. This can be tough, but the reward is great.
Grace and Forgiveness are separate entities but it’s almost impossible to give one without the other. To me, grace and forgiveness are related to each other much like inhaling and exhaling. They are separate acts but one can’t be done without the other. If you inhale without exhaling you will faint and the same is true if you try to exhale without inhaling. And this is where God’s grace gets interesting. Because God gives his grace freely to each one of us and we benefit greatly from the knowledge that we are set free from our sin it becomes incumbent on us to give grace freely to others.
This is the part of God’s grace that doesn’t feel so cuddly. My giving grace to others requires me to lay down my pride. It requires that I not hold my family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors under the harsh umbrella of my self-righteous judgment. I must give grace to others because I’ve received unmerited grace from God.
In his book Counterfeit Gods, Timothy Keller addresses God’s grace by writing, “All humans beings are equally unworthy of God’s love and that therefore all humans beings have equal access to God’s grace.” He also addresses what happens when we lay down our pride and choose to forgive others. “But if you let it humble you rather than embitter you, and turn to God instead of living for your own glory, then the death of your pride can lead to a resurrection. You can emerge with a tender heart instead of a hard heart.”
I hope that you will embrace God’s grace. That you cuddle up to it; finding acceptance, stability, and security there. Then with a new understanding of the spiritual depth of God’s grace, extend it to others whether you think they deserve it or not.
Debora Shelford Hobbs
Psalm 86:15 but, you Oh Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.
Romans 8:37-39 in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Ephesians 4:7 but to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.
Hebrews 4:16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
James 4:6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
Titus 2:11 for the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.