“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved.” Ephesians 2:4–5
Grace is a word that isn’t used much in our current day. We might say someone was “gracious” when they were nice or we may sing the ever-familiar hymn “Amazing Grace,” but the real meaning of of the word is mostly lost on us. But the reasons for this disconnect with grace are far deeper than the mere evolution of language: at the heart of grace is a scandal that is impossible to overcome without supernatural intervention.
Grace means “unmerited favor” —and therein lies the dilemma. We all want God’s favor and blessing, but we want to earn it. We desperately want to work for God, to show him that we are worthy of his love and attention. If we can somehow be good enough, then we don’t have to accept God’s “handout”; we show ourselves worthy in our own right and we take another step to being gods ourselves. The very first humans pushed back against grace wanting to be just like God themselves and that same desire has been passed down from them to every human. This is the war of grace, and it is relentless. We re-label pride as “self-esteem” and “independence” and call them virtues, which drives a wedge between Creator and his creation and obligates us to the neverending exhaustion of trying to measure up. Apart from a miracle, we are totally stuck.
The good news is that while we were dead in our sin, still working to merit God’s favor, he gave new life. Jesus was the only person to life a perfect life deserving God’s love. He lived that life so we don’t have to. Because of Jesus we are perfectly accepted and loved by God. That is the miracle of grace!
The question before us now is, “How will you respond?” In what ways are you rejecting God’s grace? In what areas are you refusing to admit that you need his grace? In what ways are you still working to earn God’s favor? You will never make enough money, you will never have a close enough relationship with a friend or spouse, you will never have good enough kids, you will never be a good enough leader to satisfy the bottomless void inside you. It was created to only be satisfied by the Creator and it can only comes to you as grace. Turn to him today.