The first time I heard the song Were it Not for Grace by Larnelle Harris I must have been sitting in church listening intensely to the words and the melody. It’s not a song with complex harmonics or unique arrangements, but I believe its simplicity is what makes it great. When you sit and listen you’ll realize, that the words and notes go hand in hand. It’s this song that has me thinking about grace. I often hear people say: “Were it not for grace” but I believe it’s one of those words that’s used but people don’t really think about what it actually means.
What is Grace?
When christians talk about grace they will usually say undeserved favor or unmerited favor. Grace as it’s depicted in the bible, is simply love & mercy given to someone who’s wicked. One biblical example would be found in 1 Samuel 24:10-11 In that chapter David spares Saul’s life, even though Saul was trying to kill him. When you think about this scenario you’d conclude that David must have been young and naive because how can he spare the life of the very man who was longing to kill him? Exodus 33:13-17
While David’s mercy and pardon is a small example of grace there are many who have received grace from God and have not even realized it. Every evil act, every negative tendency deserves death but God’s GRACE covers it all and offers pardon. 2 Corinthians 8:9 makes it clear that God gave up everything to save us and to restored man to his original place. Ephesians 2:8-9 says there’s nothing you can do to receive grace, it’s simply given by God.
Who’s it For?
It should be clear who the gift of grace is for; after all God identifies himself in Acts 10:34 as impartial. So then all should have the gift of grace, right? Well actually no, because in order to receive a gift you first have to accept it. Think about the times when someone took care of a check at dinner when you weren’t even expecting it. Think about the moments when you’ve received glimpses of God’s grace, some would call it luck but luck doesn’t have perfect timing or specifications designed just for you. When you consider all your special moments where you received grace, they just don’t compare to God’s greatest gift given to us by grace his Son, JESUS. Read what Ephesians 2:4-10 has to say about this.
I recently heard this story and I’d like to share it as I believe it’s another great example of Grace:
A Bible for Graduation
A young man was getting ready to graduate from college. For many months he had admired a beautiful sports car in a dealer’s showroom, and knowing his father could well afford it, he told him that was all he wanted. As Graduation Day approached, the young man awaited signs that his father had purchased the car. Finally, on the morning of his graduation, his father called him into his private study.
His father told him how proud he was to have such a fine son, and told him how much he loved him. He handed his son a beautiful wrapped gift box. Curious, but somewhat disappointed, the young man opened the box and found a lovely, leather-bound Bible, with the young man’s name embossed in gold. Angrily, he raised his voice to his father and said, “With all your money you give me a Bible?” And stormed out of the house, leaving the Bible.
Many years passed and the young man was very successful in business. He had a beautiful home and wonderful family, but realized his father was very old, and thought perhaps he should go visit him. He had not seen him since that graduation day. Before he could make arrangements, he received a telegram telling him his father had passed away, and willed all of his possessions to his son.
When he arrived at his father’s house, sudden sadness and regret filled his heart. He began to search through his father’s important papers and saw the still new Bible, just as he had left it years ago. With tears, he opened the Bible and began to turn the pages. His father had carefully underlined a verse. As he read those words, a car key dropped from the back of the Bible. It had a tag with the dealer’s name, the same dealer who had the sports car he had desired. On the tag was the date of his graduation, and the words… PAID IN FULL
– Author Unknown
There’s no good deed you can do to receive grace, it’s already yours for the taking. All you have to do is accept it! Ask God today to help you and he will.