What Is Grace?
At its simplest, GRACE means getting something we don’t deserve (eternity in heaven with God, light and loved ones) and NOT getting something we do deserve (eternity in torment in hell).
Some of the simplest foundations of our faith are very hard to fully understand.
God, in Heaven. We cannot touch heaven, or God, but somehow, we intuitively know — or hope — there is more to this life than what we can see or touch. We intuitively know the warmth of love, the joy of a sunrise, the goodness of others when we experience it. Likewise, we intuitively understand fear, chaos, the darkness of depression or the searing pain of loss.
We intuitively know some things are very, very good (and we want those to last forever) while other things are very bad (and we want them to end).
As Christians, we learn the author of light, life and love is God. We also learn the author of fear, hate and confusion is the devil. We learn God is in heaven. The devil is in hell. We are given a simple choice. Which side do you choose?
We also learn that we can’t live up to God’s standards on our own. Sin — a state of simply not being enough to earn heaven on our own — stands between us and a relationship with God and the ability to enter heaven when we die. Sin — a state of being and not a particular action — keeps us from heaven and eternal life.
Sacrifice isn’t something we spend a lot of time thinking about these days but it’s the basis of our idea of justice. The idea is simple — for a crime, someone must pay. For sin, someone had to pay as well. God desperately wanted to have a connection, a relationship, with us but sin stood between us and him. Someone had to pay for our crime — our sin as a fallen human being — and so God sent his own son, Jesus, to live a sinless life and be sacrificed on the cross, only to be resurrected and return to heaven.
Does this necessarily make sense to our minds? Do we fully comprehend this? No. This is our faith. This is what we choose to believe. We call it grace. But what does it mean?
It means we know we, as believers, are not better than anyone else.
It means we know our mission is to care for others, as God cared for us. He loved us enough to die on the cross for us. The least we can do is love others (especially those we disagree with)!
It means we have hope that life has meaning. That all the craziness of the world still contains hope. That we — you and I — are not a mistake, a cosmic joke, a terrible accident, but rather that you and I are beautifully created, meaningfully loved, and here on this earth, not to hurt, but to heal. To reach out with compassion to a world that is hurting and offer light and love.
That is what we mean when we say the words “God’s Grace.”