We say we are in someone’s good graces. If we are lucky some of our creditors may extend us a grace period on our debts. While both uses imply getting something for nothing, none touches on the nature and extent of God’s grace. Closer to the point is what happens when we say grace as we sit down with family for a meal. In that case, we are at least acknowledging God’s favor towards us in providing for our daily needs but still falls far short of what God’s grace towards us entails.
Webster defines this uniquely Christian doctrine as “unmerited divine assistance given man for his regeneration and sanctification.” Noble but sterile language for what Christ’s sacrificial death at the cross and the miraculous aftermath at the tomb achieved for all mankind.
Having one’s sins forgiven, erased like a teacher wiping clean a dry erase board is no small matter. In God’s economy atonement had to be made through a blood sacrifice, and the only suitable sacrifice was a lamb without blemish, a sinless man and there could be only one of those. So Jesus did the unthinkable---he left his heavenly home and donned skin and bones, and all that involves, coming to earth not as the king he so richly deserved to be, but as a lowly babe in a filthy stable manger. He led the life of an itinerant preacher and healer, only to be martyred in a grisly death for his divine cause.
Fortunately for us, the story doesn’t end there. As if the possibility of having the sin barrier preventing us from enjoying a close relationship with God weren’t incentive enough, Jesus took his mission a step further. His resurrection did more than prove he was God’s son and as such indestructible; it extended the gift of eternal life to us as well. And all we have to do to reap this promise is repent and believe. I call that a bargain.
Heavenly Father, we praise you for offering us through your son an eternal home far from the strife and pain and disappointments of earth. Amen