From the Pulpit: What is grace?
The pastor began the worship service by saying “Grace be with you.”
Sometimes phrases used in church are confusing. How many of us really grasp the powerful meaning of such a simple phrase? But what is grace?
My parents were strict. I was expected to be good. To obey the rules at home. To be a good kid away from home. I vividly remember my Dad saying, “If you come home and complain about the teacher, I will take the teacher’s side.” His message to me was very clear: Obey those in authority. But what is grace?
I was taught to follow the Ten Commandments, don’t make mistakes, and don’t break laws; and you’ll be a good person. But what is grace?
As an adult, my mistakes began to bother me. I was not always a good person. I lost sleep revisiting past mistakes. Then I would worry, “Maybe I’m not good enough to get into heaven.” But what is grace?
When my own children were born, I loved them from the beginning. Sometimes when I was disappointed in their behavior, I still loved them and always will. Am I getting closer to understanding grace?
But I’m an imperfect human being and an imperfect Dad. God is our Heavenly Dad. God knows my every flaw. Sometimes God is disappointed in my behavior, but God loves me anyway. Maybe I’m really starting to understand grace.
The Bible is clear — no one is good enough to deserve heaven. But we are loved enough. No matter who we are and no matter what we’ve done, God loves us. I trust God’s fatherly love for me. I can sleep better knowing my sin is forgiven. God loves us even though we don’t deserve to be loved. This is grace!
As Jesus was on the cross, He told a robber, who was also being crucified next to Him: “Today you will be with me in Paradise.” The robber did nothing to earn this promise. He only had faith in Jesus. It’s by faith that we are saved, not by good works.
Should we be good people? Of course. But that’s not the entrance fee for admittance to Heaven. That fee has been paid for by Jesus in blood. That fee has been paid with grace. Grace, the unearned love of our Father in Heaven, is available to all of us!