Far too often, most of us get swept up in the activities and news of the day that it’s easy to become cynical. Through our television sets we’re bombarded by pundits who do little more than yell at one another and our social media news-feeds are weighed down by name-calling and character assassinations. As the holidays approach, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the importance of grace in each of our lives.
I was going to write a quick piece on the biblical idea of thankfulness in light of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. I decided to shelve that idea once I read a great piece by political pundit, David French called, “The Dan Crenshaw Moment – There’s a market for grace in American politics”.
Last weekend, Saturday Night Live star, Pete Davidson made a wisecrack about the fact Dan Crenshaw, a man running for Congress and a military vet, lost an eye. A massive controversy ensued and some even called for Davidson’s job. Imagine everyone’s surprise when Crenshaw was invited onto Saturday Night Live and not only openly accepted Davidson’s apology, but took it a step farther and called for Americans to forgive one another, prompting French to write his article for National Review.
Grace is a Vast Subject
A lot can be said about the subject of grace. Entire books have been written on the subject and it would be nearly impossible to tackle such a massive theological concept in a short piece.
For example, grace is one of the pivotal aspects of the Reformation. “Sola Gratia” or, “Grace Alone” is one of the “Five Solas” that were to summarize the Reformer’s basic beliefs. It stated that salvation was by the grace and goodwill of God without merit from the sinner.
What is Grace?
Quite simply, as GotQuentions.org expertly puts it, “God shows both mercy and grace, but they are not the same. Mercy withholds a punishment we deserve; grace gives a blessing we don’t deserve.”
Grace is Foundational
Stuart McAlpine notes in his lecture for the C.S. Lewis Institute about the Grace of God that, “…the whole of the Christian faith is wrapped up in it.” From clothing Adam and Eve in animal skins to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, the Bible resonates with God’s unmerited grace.
Paul wrote in Ephesians 2: 8-9 that, “For by grace have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
GotQuestions.org goes farther and says that:
“The only way any of us can enter into a relationship with God is because of His grace toward us. Grace began in the Garden of Eden when God killed an animal to cover the sin of Adam and Eve. He could have killed the first humans right then for their disobedience. But rather than destroy them, He chose to make a way for them to be right with Him.”
Growing in Grace
I once said in my piece on forgiveness, we too often wait for someone who has wronged us to do something in order to deserve our forgiveness. The same can be said about extending grace to others as God extended it to us.
Often, we ration our grace to those we deem “worthy” of it. Yet, if we took the time to ask ourselves did we deserve the grace the Lord clothed us with, we’d be reminded that we do not. Scripture reminds us that all of us have fallen short (Romans 3:23). Just as we are in desperate need of God’s grace, there are people all around us who could benefit from being shown the grace that the Lord has shown us. Grace doesn’t start with them. It starts with each of us.