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Grasping Grace

No matter how much I try, I am never able to get a firm grasp on the grace of God. I don't mean that I cannot receive His grace and its benefits, for I have these in abundance through Christ. I also do not mean that I cannot understand the concept of grace, for this is quite easy. Christians often define grace as God's unmerited favor, which is a simple and accurate definition. However, this definition falls far short of adequately expressing the depth of God's grace, which is what I also fall short of grasping. The song Wonderful Grace of Jesus asks the question concerning the Lord's grace, "How shall my tongue describe it, where shall its praise begin?" Our Lord often taught in parables to describe wonderful things about His kingdom, so my praise of His grace will begin here with an attempt at an evolving parable of my own to describe the wonderful grace of Jesus.

The grace of God is like a king who takes a favorable interest in one of His subjects. In any kingdom, it is rare that an ordinary, individual citizen would ever gain the attention of the king. Any kindly gesture made by a king toward a citizen would be considered a great honor and would never be forgotten by that citizen. He would give unceasing, high praise to his king for the grace of such a gesture. The grace of God is like this, but it is so much more.

The grace of God is like the greatest of all kings who seeks the wellbeing of the least of his subjects. It would be a great exercise of grace for the greatest of all the kings of earth to show any interest in an ordinary, individual citizen, and it would be even greater if that citizen was the lowest, least important, poorest, most insignificant person in his kingdom. Moreover, it would be a profound exercise in grace if the greatest king actively sought to do good for the lowest citizen in his kingdom. Indeed, Jesus is the Lord of lords and King of kings (1Tim. 6:15; Rev. 7:14; 19:16), and His grace extends to even the least of all men for each individual's salvation (Tit. 2:11). This is true, but the grace of God is even more.

The grace of God is like the greatest of all kings who seeks to save a traitorous subject. In most kingdoms, the punishment for treason is death. A king simply does not tolerate a citizen who seeks to undermine his authority and overthrow his kingdom. Such a citizen has not merited the favor of his king, but rather he has provoked the king to wrath. Therefore, if the greatest king of all sought to spare a citizen who had rebelled again him, it would be an amazing act of grace. So it is with Jesus, for His grace is given to sinners, who have offended His holiness and rejected His authority. We were helpless, we were sinners, and we were enemies, yet Christ died for us (Rom. 5:6, 8, 10). Yes, He died for us sinners, which is the greatest expression of His grace.

The grace of God is like the greatest of all kings who sacrifices everything to save his worst enemy. There has never been a king who would give up his position, become a pauper, and even die for the sake of one of his subjects, and even less a traitorous rebel. Few men would sacrifice themselves for their best friends, so it is difficult to envision the greatest of all kings sacrificing himself for his worst enemy. "For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Rom. 5:7-8). This is the grace of our Lord Jesus according to Philippians 2:6-8,

6who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

The grace of God is exactly like -- in fact it is -- the King of kings giving His own life to save a world filled with His enemies. This story is no longer a parable; it is the living truth of the gospel of Christ and His grace. "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich" (2Cor. 8:9). While we were in our sin, death, rebellion, and spiritual poverty, the Lord Jesus, King of kings and Lord of lords, graciously died in misery on the cross to allow us to become saints, eternally living souls, friends, and spiritual billionaires. For all of these things, "the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus" (1Tim. 1:14).

These descriptions of God's grace are merely a beginning. Certainly, these are accurate descriptions of His amazing grace, but this brief article cannot do justice to the topic. Indeed, "the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus" will continue to be shown for "ages to come" (Eph. 2:7). For now, I will echo the words of 1Peter 5:12: "I have written to you briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it!" "The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen" (Rev. 22:21).

Stacey E. Durham




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