I believe in the Gospel of grace. Grace here defined as a free gift of God’s unmerited favor bestowed upon sinful humanity. None of us deserves it, yet it’s given freely. I don’t understand that. Yet I embrace it. For I know my need.
As with any gift, the grace that is given must be received. While the invitation is open to all, while there are seats at the table for all, not all want God’s grace. I don’t understand that, either.
For those that receive His grace, and freely come, we’ve not found a license to sin. We find salve for our wounds, balm for our souls. But we find something, Someone, else as well:
And that encounter with Him must fundamentally alter the course of our lives. He gave His all upon the cross; died a death which wasn’t His, payed a debt He didn’t owe. When we come to Him, as with any loving parent, He in His grace, will gently, lovingly, yet implacably, remove from us (as we let Him) all that is not Him. Anything that is not Him, to which we run for comfort, try to assuage our brokenness, fill our emptiness, in which we find identity, He will inexorably take away. There can be no other before Him. In other words, the Gospel of grace is the Gospel of death: a death to self.
Grace is found in, and fills, the cracks, yes.
But make no mistake: it is grace which takes our our sacred cows, everything we exalt above Our Lord. Take it from me (with generous portions of sodium chloride, naturally) that when Jesus comes asking to take that thing away (whatever that thing may be), yield then. You really don’t want His graceful two-by-four upside your stubborn head. Because He will.
Make no mistake: He loves as we are, where we are, but loves us enough to not leave us there.
So, yes, grace is free. But not pain-free. Jesus is the cosmic cow-tipper. Upending our comfortable, carefully controlled lives He longs to give us something so much better.
James Prescott has written, and just released, a book called Mosaic of Grace God’s Beautiful Reshaping of Our Broken Lives, wherein he writes so much more eloquently than I ever could about grace. Consider this your not-so-gentle reminder to pick up a copy of James’s book at your bookseller of choice. Find James on Twitter, Facebook, and on his blog, James Prescott.