Sunday, May 15, 2011

Glamorizing Grace

I’m getting tired of hearing about grace.  (I know this post is going to get me in trouble.)  Recently I have been listening to people share their testimonies and watching a variety of TV preachers talk about the grace of God and instead of rejoicing I find myself getting haggard of hearing the message of grace.  This really troubled me.  I mean grace is the ultimate gift of God, right?  Grace always wins (Romans 5:20).  I love grace.  I’ve experienced God’s grace.  I preach God’s grace.  Grace is essential to the Christian experience.  Grace is unique to Christianity, the distinguishing mark among world religions.  So why this feeling?

When I took the time to meditate on my trouble with grace I realized the issue was that too often we glamorize grace instead of focusing our attention on the giver of the gift of grace, God.  Grace is simply a gift.  Grace (charis) is commonly defined as “unmerited favor.”  Grace is the ultimate expression of God’s love and generosity to those in relationship with Him.  “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God...” Ephesians 2:8

So why my angst?  Grace is a big deal!  But it is a result of a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.  Every gift has a giver.  It’s the gift that follows the relationship.  I hear a lot of people talking about grace and other amazing gifts of God but they talk very little about an ongoing intimate relationship with the Lord.  I love receiving gifts, it’s one of my “Love Languages,” but if my wife Leslie gave me a gift and I was more excited about the gift than our relationship, there would be trouble.  

This is more than mere semantics.  The giver is always greater than the gift.  Without the giver there is no gift.  While we celebrate the gift let’s not neglect the giver.  It is my contention that we glamorize the Giver and then let Him offer the gift.  In other words, seek (and preach) Jesus first and His grace will follow.