Whenever I reflect on the grace of God, a feeling of awe flows through my being. This amazing grace that He so freely gives without a thought of our merit or worthiness finds its source only in His goodness. And it is easy to take it for granted. That a holy God stooped down and stepped into the messy places to rescue us from the dust and the garbage heap (Psalm 113:5-7, NLT) is a narrative that sounds too God to be true. What is the catch? What does God want from us? What is in it for Him?
It is said that the Bible speaks of common grace and special grace. Common grace is the goodness God shows to everyone. Special grace is the extending of forgiveness of sins and eternal life to those who trust in Christ as their Savior; those who are saved (Ephesians 1:7; 2:8-9; Titus 3:5). Jesus spoke of His Father’s common grace when He said, “He makes His sun rise on those who are evil and on those who are good, and makes the rain fall on the righteous [those who are morally upright] and the unrighteous [the unrepentant, those who oppose Him]” (Matthew 5:45, AMP). Note that both righteous and unrighteous are the benefactors of these life-sustaining blessings. Despite what we think or believe, none of us is self-made or truly self-sufficient. Charles (Chuck) Swindoll was right when he said, “You have what you have by the grace of God. You are what you are by the grace of God. You do what you do by the grace of God. And you go where you go, ultimately, by the grace of God!”
The common grace or goodness of God is not given without a reason. Paul elaborated on this when He said, “Don’t you realize how patient He is being with you? Or don’t you care? Can’t you see that He has been waiting all this time without punishing you, to give you time to turn from your sin? His kindness is meant to lead you to repentance” (Romans 2:4, TLB). God showers humankind with common grace to bring us to Himself; to not just accept the gift of His goodness but to accept Him, the Giver of that goodness, as Lord. Believers in Christ are those who are “justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24, KJV). The word redemption describes the act of purchasing from bondage by paying a price. To be justified is to be pronounced or treated as righteous – just as if we had never sinned. This is our position in Christ though we struggle with living out its reality.
Once we accept Jesus as Lord, “the grace of God” instructs us “to reject ungodliness and worldly (immoral) desires, and to live sensible, upright, and godly lives [lives with a purpose that reflect spiritual maturity] in this present age” (Titus 2:11-12, AMP). Our speech and actions should be seasoned with grace (Colossians 4:6), and in all things, we are to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). We become a people of grace when we allow that grace, the goodness of God, to impact all areas of our lives, empowering and transforming us into becoming like Christ. That is my end goal. I hope it is yours too.