I can’t be the only person to have been in church their entire lives and still not quite have grasped grace. It seems that grace is just hard to get our heads around.
Grace as a Jumpstart
At times, I reflect and remember what it was like as a teenager in a large, growing church. Busy volunteering, running groups, leading, and attending multiple services. Trying to live an exemplary life of service to others and to God. I believed in the whole package; Jesus, God and the works. I believed he sacrificed himself for me personally – and what a moment that was. To have the weight of the gospel hit me; my wrongdoing exposed, and God’s loving response expressed at the cross.
I felt like I had been trying to turn-over the engine of my life, and all of a sudden, through sheer grace, God jump started me to life. I felt I needed grace a bit more at the beginning – hey, it’s still early days. But the longer my Christian walk went on, the more despondent I became about my failures. “Surely I should have it together by now…” floated around my consciousness somewhere.
I assumed that I needed grace to get me up to speed, and then I could ‘take it from here’. Grace was a jumpstart.
How Sweet the Sound
“But he gives us more grace…” James 4:6
If Grace is a jumpstart, then it is also the fuel and the air, the oil, the moving parts, panels, wheels, dash, seats, belts, glass and tail pipe. Grace provides everything.
F.F. Bruce said that “It is the grace of God that brings us to the faith and carries us on the pathway”. What he means is that our pre-Christian lives do not merit God’s goodness; and in the same way, we merit no goodness with our Christian good works.
It’s not your level of church involvement, your morals, your giving, nor your prayer time, your Bible reading nor any Christian deed that earn God’s goodness. They are freely given. Unmerited.
Almost all Christians understand and believe in the “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me”, but there aren’t as many who understand that “Grace has brought us safe thus far, and grace will lead us home”. Face it. We’re never going to have it all together – but we don’t have to. Christ was the only one who had it all together and deserved God’s goodness – and he gave that status to us. A jumpstart is over in but a moment – but the grace of God is the whole journey.