ASTOUNDING GRACE: Do You Know What Grace is?
Could you explain grace, or is it just a churchy, religious word for something like forgiveness?
Grace is related to forgiveness, but it is different. God forgives His children and wipes the slate clean. But grace is how God puts value in your life after sin has destroyed it. If you broke a crystal pitcher, your mom would forgive you. But the crystal remains broken. Grace crafts the broken pieces into something beautiful and often unexpected.
For example, when Jacob stole Esau’s birthright and blessing, Gen. 27, he had to run for his life — what Jacob did, with the help of his mom, was deceitful and evil. Sinful, clearly.
But God, in His grace, was able to work with that, and in the end, the Messiah came through the line of Jacob. Did God WANT Jacob to deceive his father, Isaac? No. But God’s grace can take failures and sins and redeem them. God takes the broken pieces of our lives and puts them back together, a master craftsman repairing a broken heirloom. And often He uses the pieces, the shards, to make something new and different from the original crystal, but beautiful nonetheless. That’s grace.
Moreover, through His grace, God often does things so amazing that we are left in awe, slack-jawed at the mystery of the sovereign will of God versus the free will of man. That is, by the time He is finished, the beauty He has crafted out of our broken failures is so overwhelming we are tempted to think the failure was God’s plan all along — even when we know it was not. For example, a child born to a rape victim becomes such a blessing to her, she cannot imagine her life without him. THAT is the way of God’s mysterious grace.
Did God plan for Jacob to deceive Isaac? Was it God’s will for Samson to surrender his secret to Delilah? Did God want Saul to be a poor king so David could replace him? Did God want Paul to persecute believers to prepare Paul’s heart for the persecution he would one day face? Imagine the perspective of the former persecutor: when Paul’s life was shattered and rebuilt by God’s grace, he must have been overwhelmed by the mystery of God’s sovereign grace. And it left him nearly speechless:
“Oh, the depth of riches of both the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!” Romans 11:33.
God never, ever favors sin. NEVER. The Bible is clear. But God’s grace is so amazing that He can bring incredible, unexpected GOOD out of our evil. Rom. 8:28. And THAT is what He does through grace.
Consider the acronym:
Redemption [of our failures]