Grace August 21, 2012

I never fully understood grace.

I grew up in a conservative evangelical church, and have worked in only conservative evangelical churches, where the gospel was assumed and not necessarily displayed or talked about at large…

For Example:

  • If you went to a rated “R” movie
  • If you said a “Thats what she said” joke
  • If you dated instead of courted
  • If you even kissed a girl rather then kissed dating goodbye

…then you might be going to hell, not definitively, just possibly.

So needless to say, its taken me a while to understand grace.

But I think I’m at the beginning of getting it.

Since I stopped working at a church I feel like I’ve gotten closer to hearing God’s voice, saying,

I love you.

Thats it.

Thats all.

I love you.

Growing up it was hard for me to really believe in the concept of a God who will love me no matter what.

  • It was always, “Yes, God loves you unconditionally, BUT…”
  • “Yes you can enter into a relationship as you are, IF…”
  • “It’s grace, AND…”

It’s taken a while but I’m coming to realize the gospel does not include any “IF’s, AND’s, or BUT’s”…

It’s not about the do’s and the don’ts, the rules and the laws.

That’s what I love about Jesus. He was a rebel. He broke the rules. He stood up to the pharisees. He HATED religion.

He made the statement, “I have not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it…” Meaning, we don’t need to abide to, and live by the law in order to earn, or gain His love and attention.

We already have it. Not just the pastors, not just the clean cut, white collared, wealthy, or least sinful… We see this through whom Jesus hung around:

The drunkards, the tax collectors, the prostitutes, the people who were utterly despised at that time. The outcast, the destitute, the marginalized… Those who didn’t belong, and He offered them love, and attention, and a place in which they could belong.

Over the past few months I’ve realized something. When I look at the state of the church today, even the one’s I really like and the one’s I have volunteered in… I don’t feel like I belong. Most of my friend’s feel as if they don’t belong either.

You see… I drink, I curse, I will occasionally smoke a cigarette, and  the craziest part of all of this is, I think Jesus is fine with that. In fact, something that might disturb us “law-abiding-conservative-Chik-Fil-A-eating-evangelical-folk” is that I think know Jesus goes so far as to loving me REGARDLESS of those things.

So hear this:

Jesus loves you if drink so much you pass out.

Jesus loves you if you take His name in vane.

Jesus loves you if you’re gay.

Jesus loves you if you’re eating at Chik-fil-a.

Jesus loves you regardless of where you are Sunday morning.

Jesus loves you!

I’ve always been that guy who speaks of God’s love, has preached about God’s love, but never fully grasped, understood, or experienced His love…

…until now.

I’m coming to realize “His love is an incomprehensibly vast, bottomless, shoreless sea” and that nothing can separate us from this love, leaving me with no choice but to, as A.W. Tozer says so poetically, “kneel in joyful silence and from which the loftiest eloquence retreats confused and abashed…” 

If you let me see the real you, the dark and the light, your wretchedness and glory, your depravity and holiness, the ugly and beauty, I would find you to be wonderful

… And that is grace.

That is the Gospel.

"I love my Pastor. Father George in Attica, N. Y. lives a humble life and ..."

The Pastor’s Salary: Should Pastors Make ..."
"Interesting article.1. "But, as many of us know, the Church for many young adults resembles ..."

A Short Cut to Reconciling One’s ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

TRENDING AT PATHEOS Progressive Christian
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Awesome Andy–I can totally hear your voice in it!

  • Great Stuff Andy, we still need to get breakfast, trying to get through this week. I loved the line at the beginning “the gospel was assumed, not displayed or talked about”

  • I’ve been writing about the things I think Jesus finds unlovable (for my grad school admission essay) … I think it’s funny we often write on the same topics around the same time. I appreciate this.. and you. Thanks.

  • Andy…so proud of you that you not only recognize all of this, but that you are spreading the word!! Love Auntie Stephanie

  • thanks for the words aunt steph! means alo tto hear the encouragement from you! :)

  • yeah man, i’ll shoot you a text and we can set up a time :)

  • Hannah

    Hi Andy,
    Can you tell me where that quote comes from, I find it really… wonderful! “it you let me see the real you, the dark and light, your wretchedness and glory, your depravity and holiness, the ugly and beauty, I would find you to be wonderful. And that is grace.”

  • Hannah, I wish I knew! A friend of mine ( just posted it on instagram and I took it from him… not sure if he first said it or got it from someone else…

  • Lenny TJ

    I disagree with everything you wrote…and so does God

  • Ridiculous

  • Guest

    So what you’re saying is, Jesus loves people who sin. I agree with that. I also would offer that sanctification is a process entered into by the believer where they finally grasp that God loves them in SPITE of their sin. He loves us enough to not let us stay the same. His grace is irresistable, because we all need it at all times.

  • So what you’re saying is, Jesus loves people who sin. I agree with that. I also would offer that sanctification is a process entered into by the believer where they finally grasp that God loves them in SPITE of their sin. He loves us enough to not let us stay the same. His grace is irresistible, because we all need it at all times.

    If you’re saying that God’s grace is extended in spite of the fact that people sin (and you mentioned some hot button sins…), then I’m good with that. If you say it’s in God’s nature to love is WITH our sin, I would categorically disagree. God loves us because we are his creation. But he is a jealous God. He want’s nothing else but himself to be chosen by us.

  • I think the best way to summarize what I’m saying is Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

  • How can you disagree with this?

  • Jesus is teaching me, my family, literally my church, exactly this. I’m seeing that even when I dont set aside time to read the word and pray, I am still perfectly abiding in Christ, in His grace, His love and His favor. I’m a part of a very small college outreach church plant. We are a Calvary Chapel and teach verse by verse. We’re just about to finish Galatians, and this book God has used to change each and every one of us. His grace has been manifested to us all. It is truly glorious. One thing I just want to add, and see what your thoughts are, through understanding His grace I want to be more like Jesus, I want to honor Him and His name. Sanctification comes only by His grace and there’s not a thing I can do to get it, but because of His grace I want His sanctification too. Do you agree?

  • T @aseedinspired

    oh you are on an interesting journey… I think we call it , around here; Dechurching. Much like detoxing….only with less shakes. We did that for about 4 years and it changed our lives. I suspect a few other things about you…however as this is my first read here….my husband (you follow him on insta) said I had to read this blog-and he knows I am super picky about Christian blogs :)…. anyways I hope to visit here more often… your blog is most definitely read worthy!
    Well done.
    T @aseedinspired

  • Thanks for the encouraging words. And yes, i think “dechurching” works :)

  • You liked a photo of mine on instagram so I followed that here. Glad I did. Good post, brother.

  • that’s okay. you’re allowed to be wrong, and God will still love you.

  • This is so refreshing and beautifully written. And oh so true. God truly blows my mind because the more the true gospel gets into your heart and sets you free, the more beautiful the gospel becomes and the more amazing grace becomes to me. We have been made new creations! We don’t have to try to be new creations or try to be righteous or try to be a good Christian. The cross makes us approved & we are righteous in God’s eyes. Grace alone. No “If, Ands, or Buts.” Love it.

  • guest

    It’s good to grasp the extent of Christ’s love but, I think it is dangerous to take God’s grace for granted. We must balance our view of God with reverence for Him and a desire to be holy in His sight, just as one would desire to respect and please their earthly father out of love. And since God is immeasurably greater than our earthy fathers we should desire to please Him all the more . There is quite a bit of support for a holy fear of God even in the NT. 1 Peter 1:17 Since you call on a Father who judges each man’s work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear.

  • Landy

    I’m guessing that’s a tactic of his, because I did the same thing. Good work, Mr. Gill.

  • Kari

    Via instagram found your blog and Oh Em Gee…thanks for this amazing and real post. :) Seriously though, hit the nail on the head. Appreciate your genuineness.

  • Geust

    We have been set FREE from sin! But we have become SLAVES to righteousness.

    Romans 6

  • Andy-
    You liked a photo of mine on Instagram and I’ve been reading your stuff since. Man, I would love to grab coffee with you some time man. I live in Baltimore, but Jersey isn’t that far. Let me know! I am constantly burdened with the thoughts you seem to have about church.
    John Barnette 410-790-1482

  • Dawie


  • Wow. I’ll be honest, this rocked me. I have been learning about grace so much in the last year. I’ve only read your three most recent blog posts, thanks to your link on Twitter (which I don’t recall how that happened either, must have been a God thing). Thank you for your honesty and for writing so boldly. I will definitely be a returning reader. God bless!

  • Andy, great thoughts! I’d love to chat with you sometime via some means (Skype, FaceTime, email, etc.) and expand your thoughts. Hit me up on twitter, or email (, and lets set something up!


  • Justin

    I agree that Jesus will love you regardless of what you do. If you think living like that is going to get you in to heaven then you are sadly mistaken. If you read the entire Bible then you see that it speaks against cursing and getting drunk. Jesus says, the only way to heaven is through Him, and if you deny him before man he will deny you before the father. (Matthew 10:33) If you deny His commands as truth then you are in return denying him.

  • troy mc laughlin

    Thanks Andy we need to, I need to live this grace in my life. If God gave me His grace then I’m without excuse to give grace to others. Whether that’s in the walls of the traditional church or outside its walls. Grace covers it all. Period. Being that the church is its people. I have to extend this grace to everyone. Let me live in grace and love in grace. That’s my prayer.

  • Meshi Fisher

    Jesus Words, Luke 21:34-36: ” But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and the cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. WATCH therefore, and PRAY always THAT YOU MAY BE COUNTED WORTHY to ESCAPE all these things that WILL come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.” You are preaching a different Gospel. You truly do not know your God. I could give you countless Scriptures.. but try 1Peter 1:13-2:3, 2Peter 2all&3:10-18& Hebrews 10:26-39. God’s Word, not mine. God is good, Andy, but we must love EVERY part of Him!! Because even His hatred of sins is both good And love.

  • dramalama

    Jesus didn’t hate religion.. He was in the temple.. he participated in religious activities. What he hates was the hypocrital behavior. The false teaching for man’s gain. Yes God still loves you when there is sin.. but there are consequences and he hates sin. Your post leaves out the proper response to grace. You do not obtain faith by works.. but faith without works is dead. If one is doing all of those things without repentance,then they possibly aren’t in the faith… so God loves them as sinners, but salvation is needed.

  • dramalama

    Again.. auto correct typos hates was =hated was… etc etc