Grace. Amazing Grace. It is a theme richly woven within every fiber of the tapestry of the Christian faith. Yet, it has become so much a banal staple of the parlance of Christian discourse that the term has lost its luster. It no longer excites the passions of believers beleaguered by indifference. But, Oh! How glorious is that grace that set the captives free—the fountainhead of God’s love for a world trapped in its own destructive melee.
God’s grace in its simplest expression is unmerited favor. It speaks of a particular kind of love largely unrecognized in even the most compassionate enclaves of human kindness expressed in this world we inhabit. It is reserved for those who embrace it and thus become privileged to be named as His children. It is a moving display of affectionate passion that forms the very ground of God’s redemptive actions toward rebel souls. This grace is a gratuitous, ill-deserved reward; a prize conferred for no achievement. It issues forth from the incalculable benevolence of its heavenly source. God’s grace is unfettered and free, bounding forward into the hearts of receptive sinners like you and me.
This is to say no one is able by the strength of moral will to gain God’s favor. Virtually every religious system conceived by mankind is rooted in the ability accorded to ourselves. Religious man is transparently focused on the self. He thinks he is fully capable of appeasing what ever powers he imagines through his own self-inflated perception of success. However, God’s grace only extends toward those who recognize their utter failure in meeting the terms necessary to attain salvation. Ironically, the force of grace is only apparent when such individuals recognize how unworthy they are of its benefits.
While grace is without cost to its beneficiaries, it incurred an incalculable expense to God. It required Him to send His Son to this sin stricken earth as a vicarious sacrifice on behalf of others; to pay the price of punishment for crimes He did not commit. The condescension of Christ to bear the burden of sinful creatures on a shameful cross casts a transcendent light upon this unearthly love—pure and undefiled. He was whipped and beat, spat upon, cruelly mocked and despised. He was left to die a cold and lonely death outside of Jerusalem while His detractors retreated into the warmth of the city gates. Christ’s physical agony pales in comparison to what He experienced in His spirit. Few are those who appreciate the magnitude of humiliation the divine Son of God underwent so humanity might have the proffer of the only genuine freedom that exists.
The abundant character of God’s divine mercy is unbounded in its ability to meet every need of every sinner. No amount of malice that seethes through the veins of the vilest offender can thwart the designs of grace to erase the impossible stains left in the wake of such transgression. One need only look at the Apostle Paul—a formerly horrible blasphemer and violent persecutor of Christians—in order to see God’s kindness toward His enemies. The tenderness of God invaded the stony regions of Paul’s heart and led him to instruct his readers, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9).
That the Creator of the universe died for His special creatures is nothing less than astounding. Perhaps the only thing more astounding than this marvelous extension of love, is how so many refuse it. But for those who do not, the love of God for as wretched sinners as they is grace—nothing less than Amazing Grace.