What is grace? I grew up hearing an acrostic for grace. It went like this – God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. That little acrostic served me well for many years. And while it is a good definition, I don’t think it is the best.
I was recently listening to a podcast of a pastor from Florida. His definition of grace was eye opening. It didn’t tell me anything that I didn’t know already, but it did put a ‘handle’ on grace so that I could pick it up and take it with me. In other words, it is a solid definition that allows me to fully see all three aspects of what grace really is. Here is the definition: Grace is unconditional acceptance to an undeserving recipient from an un-obligated giver.
Do you see the three parts? First – my acceptance from Christ is unconditional. Those 13 letters spell out something that is difficult, at best, to wrap our heads around. Unconditional! I don’t have to do anything. As a matter of fact, I can’t do anything to earn His acceptance. Not even more acceptance. I am accepted fully and forever. This gives me great ease, as I am not obligated to keep earning His favor. I have it already.
Secondly, this acceptance is for an undeserving person. Well, that definitely qualifies me…and you. I am undeserving of anything good from God. What I am deserving of is punishment for my sin, yet He offers acceptance, love, and the right to be called a child of God. Why? Because of what Jesus accomplished on the cross.
Finally – He is un-obligated. Now, according to the spell-check on my computer, un-obligated is not a word. But I think we’ll run with the word anyways since is conveys the meaning. God doesn’t owe me anything. He is not obligated or compelled to do anything good for me. However, because of His love, He chooses to give me His blessing, favor, and love. He had a choice. He could have (and should have) chosen punishment, but He, through His GRACE, chose to give a gift instead.
Ephesians 2:8-9 says – “For by grace you 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.”
Bob Kauflin put it like this in the song Grace Unmeasured:
Grace unmeasured, vast and free
That knew me from eternity
That called me out before my birth
To bring You glory on this earth
Grace amazing, pure and deep
That saw me in my misery
That took my curse and owned my blame
So I could bear Your righteous name
Grace abounding, strong and true
That makes me long to be like You
That turns me from my selfish pride
To love the cross on which You died
Grace unending all my days
You’ll give me strength to run this race
And when my years on earth are through
The praise will all belong to You
Grace paid for my sins
And brought me to life
Grace clothes me with power
To do what is right
Grace will lead me to heaven
Where I’ll see Your face
And never cease
To thank You for Your grace
This definition has made me more thankful for the grace given to me by my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Grace is unconditional acceptance to an undeserving recipient from an un-obligated giver.