It is easy to forget favors done to you. A close instance of how man cannot live without favor is his childhood. Unless you fell under the caring, tender hands of your mother you would have not made it to this day. Imagine you were left alone after being born! Your mother was to do with you as animals do, leave you to struggle to live once out of the womb!
Imagine you were to face the severe cold or heat of the world all alone! But God didn't let it be so. He created a great bond between a mother and a newborn babe. And for that matter it is all of compassion and love. Your mother owes you nothing, she just dispenses love.
Such may be said as the closest expression of "grace". Were it not for the favor of God, we would be left to suffer the human condition which many philosophers pessimistically refer to as "despair". They say man is all alone in this vast materialistic cosmos. Yet the grace of God completely changes the paradigm.
Man's plight is of course sad looking at his limit in the face of nature. His resources are short of his immense problems. But grace all abounds. The favor of God is the sole force which saved the history of man. Jesus, the personification of God's grace introduced hope and love to change the despair.
Grace has been expressed as "God's Riches At Christ's Expense". The continued relationship of God with us is unilateral benevolence. He chose to stretch the limit of his loving dealing with us to the extent of making entry to heaven equal to receiving Jesus Christ.
God's grace is measured by the difference between our incapability and God's capacity. It fills the void between heaven and earth. For it took grace for Jesus /God's express image and essence/ to visit the fallen world of men! That makes grace so amazing. It makes grace amazing when men dare spit on the Prince of Peace.
It makes grace wonderful when murderous hatred melts into sacrificial love such as exhibited in Paul. It takes grace to sing out a song of love and commitment while burning at stake like the martyr's of the Colosseum did. It takes grace to read the same book "the Bible" through, one hundred times while being discarded by the most learned ones. It takes grace to kneel and pray consistently while most of the learned proclaim the inexistence of God. Grace in everything extra ordinarily positive.
Grace for any spiritual feat. Can you behold the touch of grace in the lavish creation of God? If you can it all magnifies the measure of God's grace. It all depicts the beauty of the Divine Spirit, such as the angels sing "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of his glory." (Isaiah 6.3) This lavishing on the world of sinners is despite the latter's unworthiness, just grace!
We usually describe people as full of grace when they appear to be elegant in style. Grace is more; it is a quality of relationship usually in giving extraordinarily. Grace received its utmost expression when Paul said, "While we still were sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5.8) This is grace par excellence - a demonstration of love!
As unmerited a favor as the quality of grace is, it is rare among men. Men can hardly display it unless they relinquish positively their merits for higher one. In Paul we see such a pursuit as he relinquishes the past to grasp what is ahead, of the things of grace. In view of this, grace must be sought after though you may not be sure as to get it. For it is beyond trophy to be earned, but still to be pursued to be enjoyed.
With all the beauty it possesses, this generation takes the grace of God for granted. It is rebelling against God to be let alone in perdition. The first half of the story of the "prodigal son" is typical face of the children of this world. But grace again insists in the meantime. It dispenses goodness and goodwill on all mankind. Then, after this beacons on someone's heart, it is justified that "grace has abounded to the chief of sinners" to use the words of Bunyan.
It is remarkable here that the beauty of God's grace is belittled by men when angels so hunger to behold its light. How we are blind to such beauty as God's grace! Yet John exclaims "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God? And that is what we are!" (1John 3.1) This is the extra mile that God went and is going with sinners - to make them "children". Nobody could witness grace such as this elsewhere.
More than anything else, I am amazed by the wretch that I am, for I fully know myself Had I been God, I would have found it too hard to forgive and go further as to sacrifice my beloved to such man as me. Looking at myself, and such character of God, I can figure out the infinitude of God's Riches. Nothing can explain the depth of God's heart which considered me the chief of sinners. It is only the demonstration of an utmost love - the Grace he has. It can be measured only by the price paid - Jesus' death on the cruel Cross!
In the first lines of the great hymn of John Newton we can see the blessed picture of God's grace personally.
Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That sav'd a wretch like me!
It is only wonder that comes to the mind of the sinner when looking at himself. He faces his wickedness and yet finds himself saved. What a favor! All of a sudden history is opened before your eyes and you know how you have been deceived.
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
You nearly lost the purpose of life. But again you see grace at work and exclaim "once ...lost, but now ...found." This is the beauty. Saved by a margin, but grace does it all, God snatches the lost in a simple faith of surrender. It echoes in your heart for ever "how once was lost". This is it, yeah; it propels you to always sing "It is only for the grace of God!"
But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised [us] up together, and made [us] sit together in heavenly [places] in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Ephesians 2:5-9 KJV
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