(Photo by Selma Komisky)
I Don’t Wanna Abuse Your Grace
By Iain Dick
How to explain God’s grace? It’s the sort of subject that is so amazingly complex, yet is also so simple. As a kid, I knew of a song that said, “grace is when God gives us the things that we don’t deserve… He does it because He loves us.” The song is meaning that God gives us the good things that we don’t deserve. Later, the song also talks about mercy being when God does not give us the ‘bad things’ that we do deserve – like discipline, punishment, and wrath.
His grace is what grants us simple and unholy human beings the ability to boldly approach the Almighty, holy God, to speak with and have a relationship with Him whenever we choose. When you look at how tricky that process was in the Old Testament, with all the sacrifices and cleansing that was needed to bring any request to God, it’s astounding. He’s now just ok with us freely talking to Him. God, The Creator of Heaven and Earth, wants us to be in a living, active relationship with Him. That’s grace.
Romans 5:17 “… those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness [will] reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!” (NIV)
What Jesus did on the cross opened up freedom for us. Not freedom to sin and to get away with it, but the freedom that empowers us to do God’s will, not our own. There is such liberty in that, that you can imagine how it can make our human brains explode a little. So much so, we can sometimes end up falling into one of two camps, for which I’ve given names:
Camp 1: “Freedom Fred” – those who receive His grace, acknowledge the freedom of choice that it allows them, yet continue to do what they want. The main focus is heavy on faith, but may not actually do anything that bears any fruit for other people. Anything goes with Freedom Fred, but just don’t expect him to try particularly hard, because “God’s grace will cover it”.
Camp 2: “Religious Rick” – those who like to keep grace at arm’s length, they know it’s biblical, and may still talk about it sometimes, but don’t really like the lack of punishment and guilt as a result of sin. So will try to be perfect, and will expect the same from others, and we all hope we never mess up in front of Religious Rick!
The truth about grace is actually somewhere in the middle of these two flawed extremes. God’s grace is the difference. In our walk with God, we have freedom of choice. God would love nothing more than for us to spend as much time as possible in His presence, but He knows that life has other people and other things that need our attention too – yet another place where His grace steps in. So, we aim, with all of our strength, to do what God asks at all times, but when we fail and fall short (as Romans 3:23 says we all do), God’s amazing grace is there as our safety. The undercurrent that saves us, and carries us the rest of the way.
There’s another song that has really hit the subject of grace home for me and expresses what I believe to be a healthy view of God’s grace, ‘Holy Water’ by We the Kingdom says,“I don’t wanna abuse your grace, God I need it every day,It’s the only thing that ever really makes me wanna change!”
God is so good and rewards those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). I believe that God wants us to try, even if we’re likely to fail. He wants us to pursue Him and His Kingdom with every fiber of our being. Yet, He knows we won’t make it the whole way. That distance between where we are, and where we want to be in God’s perfect plan, that’s where grace lives.
Do what you can to read your Bible, pray, share the hope that’s in you, spend time with fellow believers, give, and serve – but His grace will always cover you in your weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).
There is so much more that can be said about grace, but I hope that as a man, husband, and Dad, that I can be a good example for those around me. But I know that God has my back, and His grace will do what I can’t.