The Problem With Grace

By: Kristen L. McNulty

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In our churches we hear a lot of talk about God's grace. Today I want to take a look at what grace actually is and how it is relevant to us today.

So what exactly is grace? Well most of us have heard the expression grace is God's Riches At Christ's Expenses, but the word grace translated from the Greek word 'caris' means: 'a free gift to someone who is undeserving.'

At first glance, that definition of the word scares many of us because doesn't it really put us in our place? A free gift to someone who is undeserving. It's no wonder why we have such a hard time accepting God's grace- it goes against many of the principles by which we live our lives.

The first part of the definition "a free gift" causes us to put our backs up doesn't it? Because really, in our world everything seems to have a catch. When someone calls telling us we won a free vacuum, alarm bells go off. When a company offers to clean our carpets for free, more often than not we refuse and hang up the phone. Haven't we all heard and used the saying 'nothing is free in life'? So when we are told that God is offering a free gift of salvation through grace, it's no wonder why we have a hard time accepting it. In fact isn't our first instinct that there must be a catch?

The second problem we have with grace comes from the last part of the definition: "someone who is undeserving." That line is completely opposite from everything we've learned from pre-school on. You deserved this mark. You've earned this promotion. You are deserving of a vacation. We work hard and as a result, we get rewards. This is human logic in a nutshell. Yet God's way calls us undeserving. Isn't that such a hard thing to swallow as amazing as it is? The fact that no matter how hard we work or how clean we live, we will never be deserving of this gift.

I don't know about you, but to me this presents a problem because deep down I like to justify what I receive. In fact when someone does something to me that I can't justify, it usually makes me uncomfortable because somehow I want to repay them for it. I don't think I'm alone on this, which would explain why we so often reject the thought of grace and continue to live in guilt and self-condemnation.

Yet even though we are uncomfortable with the idea of grace, in truth, that is exactly what God is offering us. In his book titled "What's So Amazing About Grace" author Philip Yancey says: "There is nothing we can do to make God love us more and there is nothing we can do to make God love us less." God in His perfect love knew that there was no way that we could ever bridge the gap that stood between us and Himself because of sin, so He provided a free way to get there. It's called forgiveness and it is found by believing in Jesus Christ.

Today you and I both have a choice to make. We all stand on one side of a crevice and God stands on another. We can either walk across the bridge that's already been built, or we can spend our lives building our own bridge that will never quite stretch across the distance.

I made my choice when I choose to believe in Jesus Christ- today is the day for you to make yours.

If you would like to accept God's free gift of grace, all you have to do is ask. It's not difficult and you don't need to be a theologian to understand it. Wherever you are and whatever you're doing, take the time to ask and it is promised that you will receive.

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This devotional was aired as a part of the Making A Difference Christian Radio Show.