Amazing Grace

James M. Tolle once said, “It is high time that all who compose the Lord’s church give to the wondrous sovereign grace of their Creator and God the attention, emphasis, and praise that it justly deserves.” There are many religious people that believe too many preachers have failed too often in teaching sufficiently the sufficiency of grace.

To be sure, it is a frequent theme in both Old and New Testaments, from the earliest beginnings of human sin and divine punishment, (Genesis 3:15). So, “Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD” (Genesis 6:8). In preparation for the New Covenant, the apostle John wrote, “For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17). Inexorably joined together, grace and truth run hand in hand in the Christian’s life and one’s relationship with God is vain in the absence of either.

Paul humbly owned the Christian spirit, claiming God’s grace to be his crown (1 Corinthians 15:10). He echoed Christ’s admonition, “when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do’” (Luke 17:10). A light of the world will never live in the dark.

The grace of God, however, is not cheap. In divine specie, it cost God His only begotten Son and to argue that grace requires no human response exudes a nasty arrogance. Grace is foundational to Christianity, but it is also conditional and transformational.

It is conditional in that one cannot access God’s grace without having heard the Word of God (Romans 10:13-17), and actively apply this grace (Romans 6:17-18). It is a fictitious grace that mysteriously drops from the sky like so much meteor dust. It is transformational in that one cannot attain or remain in the grace of God without constant, honest, and self-critical reevaluation (Romans 12:1-2; Hebrews 6:1-8). It is a comfortable Christian who falls asleep at the switch, apathetic and oblivious concerning the eternal train-wreck that will define their eternity without the pursuit of grace (1 Corinthians 10:12; Galatians 5:4).

In the end, what is most amazing about grace is in its rejection in the face of so simple an invitation. Nothing with which God has presented us is so difficult that we cannot obey (1 Corinthians 10:13). Nor is it so complex that we cannot understand just what it is that we must do (2 Corinthians 11:3). Pity the poor soul whose ignorance, apathy, or rebellion voids God’s amazing grace.

Jeff Sweeten