What’s so amazing about grace?
This is a question I have been asking myself for quite awhile now. At first glance, it’s a question which appears to have a quick and easy answer, but as I sojourn through life I’ve discovered it’s a mixed up word with a mixed up message. All the things that make us love and hate this world can cause us to question or doubt what makes grace so amazing.
I own a coffee shop.
I have daily conversations with people who run the gamut of the age spectrum — from Boomers to Generation Z. And in our conversations, we cover many topics: from religion, politics, environment, fashion, sports, to pretty much anything under the sun.
Among the plethora of advice and wisdom I’ve garnered from these conversations the one thing that has stood out is that the definition of words is changing.
It appears I’m learning a new language every day. The deconstruction of words is in full effect —words are as fluid as water running through my hands in a rushing creek. Many words have lost their luster and grace is one.
Grace: a mixed up word and message…
Philip Yancey, in his book What’s so Amazing About Grace?, calls the word grace “the last best word.” I find this to be correct to an extent, but the word grace since his book was first published, has not kept some of its luster, glory or meaning.
Here is what I mean: The word grace has been over-used, under-used, not-used, misplaced, misappropriated and misunderstood. The definition of grace depending who you talk to can mean a lot of different things —
- It can mean a gift love and forgiveness.
- The flight of a swan, the delicate flawless moves of a ballerina.
- The game-winning home run in game six of the World Series that saved your team from elimination.
- Some fine quality or character a person possess.
I guess that’s why they say context is king.
Grace in the church.
Another thing Philip Yancey ponders is if the church has lost the gift — the gift of helping people see Jesus as a refuge and not someone to avoid. I have discovered in my time as a pastor that the church can either be a place where people find forgiveness and peace or they can find judgment and condemnation. The church is people and church people say the darnedest things sometimes.
One time I had a guy approach me after I had just finished preaching a sermon — he was ardent about giving me some advice to help me communicate God’s heart/truth better to the church. Both heart and truth were synonymous to him. He said,
“You know pastor, if you want to keep people coming to church and to know what God is like, you need to give them more of the truth. People need to have a fear of God which will keep them on the right path. But pastor you talk too much about Jesus and grace in your sermons so I will attend another church.”
Paul said in Acts 20:24 that the message of the church was to tell the story of the gospel of grace, but people don’t hear this message anymore. There is a shortage of grace in the church today, and to be leery of the word grace and shun it from our gatherings and our hearts is push people away from Jesus.
There is assault on grace in the church today and I understand why. It has been misused and abused by some as an excuse to do, say and be however they want — for either absolute rebellion or absolute manipulation. To counter each other, both sides have put up a more rigorous test of faith, one which adheres to the law of hedonism or the law of God.
Why this blog?
I’m not trying to reclaim or restore the definition of grace. Instead, I want to show you that grace has never lost its meaning or impact on the human soul.
I believe the world is clamoring for grace in its purest form—a grace that reveals the love that our Father in heaven has for us.
It’s this revealing of grace that shows us a better way to live — a life of freedom, abundance, obedience and fullness. A state of grace that draws us into the presence of God and cultivates a heart of gratitude.
Through this blog, I hope we can rediscover the beauty and wonder of the gospel of grace. We will use blog articles, essays, devotionals and various forms of artistic expression—such as poetry, short stories, photography and others to help explore and unbury the meaning to the question: What’s so amazing about grace?
Grace my friends, demands nothing from those who receive it, but it demands everything from the giver who empties himself out completely, freely and joyously.
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.