The concept of God’s grace is familiar to most followers of Jesus. Yet, it can still be complicated to understand and even harder to explain. So, what is grace exactly? The Greek word for grace is charis, and it means good will, loving-kindness, and favor. It’s God’s unmerited favor and unconditional love given to an undeserving world. And we’ve done absolutely nothing to earn it.
The whole world needs grace, and whether someone lives in a palace or a prison, it’s 100% free to those of us who receive it. While it’s free to us, it cost God everything. Grace was given in a remarkable way through God’s Son, Jesus.
God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 NIV
That’s the essence of God’s limitless grace. Jesus was sent to die on a cross before anyone could even receive Him. Nobody’s without sin, and everyone falls short of God’s standard:
Yet God, in His grace, fully makes us right in His sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. Romans 3:24 NLT
All we have to do is say yes to Jesus.
Here are some ways to break down what grace means:
It’s God’s way of treating us as if we never sinned.
It means that our past failures serve a purpose, not shame.
It overcomes the hardest of hearts.
It meets us exactly where we are but doesn’t leave us in that place.
It has no requirements. We just have to recognize our need for it.
We’re all spiritually bankrupt outside of God’s grace. It’s something that can’t be purchased or earned. Yet, we’re often drawn to earning. We earn an income, we earn rewards, and we earn respect. And we feel good when we do, because we actually did something that warrants us receiving some type of accolade, reward, or payment. But, when we’re given a free gift—like grace—we don’t know how to accept something that we put no effort toward.
This is why we have to understand grace as a gift. We’ve likely received birthday and Christmas gifts in our lives, and when we do, we typically say the most common two word phrase known to mankind—thank you. Let’s do the same with God’s grace. We don’t deserve it, we can’t earn it, and we’re unable to repay it. So, we must simply thank Him for it.
No matter how bad our choices may seem, we’re never beyond the reach of God’s grace. And on the days when we think we have it all together, we’re never on the other side of needing it. Now that we know what it is and understand we didn’t do anything to earn it, we’ll go a bit deeper into how to live out the grace we’ve been so graciously given.