Monday, April 5, 2010

What's the Meaning of Grace?

Grace is an odd word. Unless you've spent some time in churches, you're not very likely to know what Christians mean when they use the word "grace". In fact, I'm guessing that more than a few people who are raised Christian don't really understand what is meant by the word.

The word "grace" in the New Testament refers to God's unmerited favor. It describes the love that God has given to everyone, whether they deserve it or not. When we say that we have received God's grace, we are saying that God has blessed us, not because we are so awesome, but because God is so loving.

I've seen many people who don't understand this. They've heard people talk about grace, but they still believe that we must work to earn God's love. They believe that the people receive God's favor because, in some sense, they deserve it.

This is not what what we mean when we talk about grace. If we say that we have received something by grace, then we are insisting that we did not do anything special to deserve it.

I understand why there's so much confusion about this topic. We want to believe that God is kind to us because, for some reason or another, we deserve it. We don't like the idea that God can show his love to us even when we don't deserve it.

Still, we need to grasp this fundamental truth. This basic idea that the love that God has shown us is given, and not earned, is essential to our faith. It reminds us that we are not special people who have been given God's special blessing, which is only for the truly enlightened. It reminds us that the love that we have received isn't for us.

The love that we have received is for the whole world, for every last person who needs God's love, whether they deserve it or not. So we are free to share God's love with everyone. We know that they don't need to say or do anything special to deserve it.

If anyone's interested in hearing more about what God has done for us, I'd recommend this post on She Laughs at the Days.

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