“Our best righteous deeds are but splendid sins.”
The word grace is one of the most common English expressions we toss around in society today, whether it is used for a name, as an expression or uttered as a lament for a prayer. However, can our minds really comprehend and grasp the real implications of what grace means to us as ordinary people living quiet lives? Or do you, like me, live each day as a practical atheist in heart?
I claim the name Christian but day to day, my actions reveal my thanklessness illuminating the true nature of my sinful heart. I am not the blatant prodigal son whose sins are put out as a show case for all the world to see; rather, I am the older brother, with a heart full of legalism, pride, jealousy and anger in the worst form. I like to think that I am so sophisticated in a false world of rules and regulations that I judge others with. However, I blind myself to the fact that I have failed at all of those rules I set in place for others and forget my overwhelming need for God’s grace.
Grace is a precious gift from the holy and righteous most high God who sent his only Son into the world so that his justice would be atoned for and that His glory would be made known. There is nothing inherently good that I can measure up to in order to receive this gift but must cast my whole heart and soul on Jesus who freely came to give this gift to me. There was an example used of grace that I heard recently from my pastor who paraphrased that, “It is not grace when you give a friend a gift but rather when you give your worst enemy a gift that cost you.” This blows my mind as I was, and still tend to be the consummate good girl, always trying to live by the rules, unconsciously expecting that God would have to bless me because of all the good that I have done for him. To understand and live in the reality that I am his worst enemy deserving of death and my good or my bad works did and do not make Him love me more breaks my heart, but also invites me to ultimate freedom.
Grace sweeps me from the ashes of legalism, transforming me into the beautiful image of Christ, who will one day call me home to live with him. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” It is only through the power of Christ alone that my heart cries thank you for grace, grace to cover all my sins, grace to live each day loved by him in the palm of His hand.