I can remember, quite distinctly, the first time someone defined the word grace for me. I was helping to paint one of the classrooms in the back of our old church – a light gray, if memory serves. I was twelve years old.
My Sunday School teacher, who was leading the painting efforts, described grace as God’s unmerited favor.
I was a pretty bright kid, so I understood what the words unmerited and favor meant – kinda. I stashed the definition away, ready for the next discussion at youth group or Sunday School.
As with many spiritual things, knowing a definition and understanding a truth are two, entirely different matters.
The definition was important. The understanding was life-changing.
God loves you.
At it’s core, that’s what grace is – the love of God. It’s a spectacular kind of love. Demonstrated on the cross and revealed through the Gospel, grace is a radical truth flowing from the heart of a radical God.
The reality is, our God is a God of relationships – real relationships, with real people. Religion, despite some good intentions, usually erects more barriers to relationship than it builds bridges. God is not interested in formulaic prayers, ritualized worship, or choreographed services. God is interested in people – individual people. People like you. People like me.
Once the light goes on – it stays on.
Once you encounter and understand real grace – the unchanging, eternal, forgiving, merciful, beautiful, challenging, grace of God – you are never the same.
And the Word (Jesus) became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. – John 1:14