Sunday, September 13, 2009

What is Grace?

The cost of redemption cannot be overemphasized. Christ took the hell He didn't deserve so we could have the heaven we don't deserve.

If you're not stunned by the thought of grace, then you aren't grasping what grace offers you, or what it cost Jesus...

Before I spoke at a conference, a soloist sang one of my favorite songs, "Amazing Grace."It was beautiful. Until she got to the tenth word. "Amazing grace! How sweet the sound that saved a soul like me!"My heart sank. The word wretch had been edited out!

I thought about John Newton, the songwriter. This former slave trader, guilty of the vilest sins, knew he was a wretch. And that's what made God's grace so 'amazing.' Mind-boggling. Knock-down awesome.

If we're nothing more than morally neutral "souls," do you see what this does? It guts grace. The better we are, the less we need it. The less amazing it becomes...

The Bible makes an astounding proclamation: "God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).

When you cut wretch out of the song, you shrink grace. You reduce it to something more sensible, less surprising. If we weren't so bad without Christ, why did He have to endure the cross? Paul said if men were good enough then "Christ died for nothing" (Galatians 2:21).

Grace never ignores the awful truth of our depravity. In fact, it emphasizes it. The worse we realize we are, the greater we realize God's grace is. Grace isn't about God lowering His standards. It's about God fulfilling those standards through the substitutionary suffering of the standard-setter.

Christ went to the cross because He would not ignore the truths of His holiness and our sin. Grace never ignores or violates truth. Grace gave what truth demanded: the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. For some, human depravity may be an insulting doctrine, but grasping it is liberating. Why? Because when I realize that the best I can do without Him is like "filthy rags" in His sight (Isaiah 64:6), it finally sinks in that I have nothing to offer. Salvation therefore hinges on His work, not mine...

What relief to realize that my salvation cannot be earned by good works - and therefore can't be lost by bad ones.If we see God as He really is, and ourselves as we really are, there's only one appropriate response: to worship Him.

Taken from The Grace and Truth Paradox by Randy Alcorn

1 comment:

  1. what a great post! The other day I was contemplating how much grace I deserved! HA! I don't deserve any!