Grace…what exactly does “grace” mean? By definition it means the “free and unmerited favor of God”. It is something given to us without any cost attached. Merited means “the quality of being particularly good or worthy, so as to deserve praise or reward”, and is the exact opposite of what unmerited means. So, in essence, we have been a free gift, not because we are good or worthy enough or because we deserve it, but because God loved us so much that He chose to have His Son pay the price for us.
If you’ve accepted Christ as your Savior, you really have to have some understanding of what grace is about. We “get it” when it applies to salvation. However, grace extends BEYOND the moment we become saved. We can accept that Christ died for us and there’s nothing else we can do to enter a relationship with Him, but I think that’s where we often we stop applying the “free and unmerited favor” of grace to our lives. We think, most often because we’ve been conditioned to, that God has a big hammer and is ready to pound us over the head when we make mistakes. That couldn’t be further from the truth. It is our job to go to God and confess our sin. Not because He’s in the dark and doesn’t know what it is we’ve done, but it’s a way of opening communication. After we confess, He can get rid of the sin for us (which is something we can’t do for ourselves), restore us and set us on the right path once again. There’s no reason to doubt that we can be forgiven for anything. Psalm 103:12 says that “as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions (sins) from us.” There is no condition as to what God will forgive and what He won’t. He doesn’t say, “Now if all you did was tell a lie, then I can forgive you, but if you have sex outside of marriage, well, that’s another story.” Every sin is gone. By limiting God’s grace we are really saying that what Christ did on the cross wasn’t good enough for whatever sin it is that we’ve committed. He died for every sin, not just the ones we think He died for or the ones we feel okay with him forgiving. God doesn’t quit forgiving us after we’re saved or keep tabs on any of the sins we confess. He’s continues to shower His grace upon us. It’s something He chooses to do.
I love what Psalm 103:10 says – “he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.” How mind-boggling is that?!?!?!??? What it boils down to, is that Christ paid for every single, solitary sin we have or will ever commit, therefore negating the need for us to have to pay for what we’ve done in the way we should have to. It’s grace in action!
Because of that, we should want to what is right and not want to disappoint, but He knows we are going to mess up – we’re human and that’s part of life. We are fortunate because God looks at our heart. The perfect example of that is with King David of the Old Testament. If you really look at David’s life, he did some pretty rotten things, but God went beyond the sin and looked at his heart and saw what was there. David suffered many consequences for his sins and there are times we will too. However, God also showered David with blessings, love, success and joy. God used him in extraordinary ways. He picked him up and set him on the right path. That’s what God does for every one of us. He will pick us up and set us on the right path – EVERY time we need Him.
Grace goes beyond anything I can ever do. Trying hard doesn’t make it happen. John 1:17 says, “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” Grace is ours because of Christ’s death on the cross. When we truly understand what grace is about and how it applies to our lives, then we can begin to live the rich, joyous life God intends for us to live.