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  • Writer's picturePhil Rains


Grace is probably one of the most used words in the Christian faith, and should be. After all it speaks of favor and blessing from God that is totally undeserved, totally unmerited. It’s in our sermons, it’s in our music, it’s in our conversations. It fills volumes of books, and articles, and posts, and blogs. See, here’s another one. But it’s easy to preach about it, to sing about it, to have a conversation about it. But before grace can be fully seen and understood to be truly gracious, it must be considered within the context of our own unworthiness, our own sinfulness, our own lack of anything to offer God. We must come to the full realization of our gross, hideous sinfulness. Only then can we understand its power. Maybe that’s the reason why we don’t understand grace, for who wants to see just how ugly and sinful we really are.

The depth and power of grace can only be measured against the depth of our total depravity. No one wants to face that, so we just keep singing about it.

This is not intended to be a deep theological treatise on the subject of grace. I’m not really capable of that. These are just the thoughts of an old man who has, for all his life, wanted to understand this marvelous thing called grace, and then communicate these thoughts to God’s people. Nothing more, nothing less.

I want to share a scripture that gives us a much larger platform on which to understand the working of grace. More often than not, people will refer to Ephesians 2:8, but for my purpose here today, I want to use

2 Corinthians 9:8:

“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.”

This scripture speaks of a powerful grace. An all encompassing grace. A grace that emanates from God and permeates every facet of our lives. A powerful grace that partners with faith to initiate our salvation. A powerful grace that facilitates the growth and development of our spiritual lives and helps us “lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely”, and then helps us as we “run with endurance the race that is set before us,” (Hebrews 12:1).

A powerful grace that works redemption, forgiveness, deliverance and healing in our lives. A powerful grace that is made available for us as we go through the day to day dust and dirt of living life.

“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

Hebrews 4:16

We have too often thought of grace only within the context of the forgiveness of sins. “For by grace you are saved.” But our salvation is not a one time event. Yes, we are saved from our sinful nature in an instant, but we still need grace, cleansing and forgiveness as we move through this world. We are waiting for the completion of that salvation. Our salvation is a lifelong process that will never end until we enter into eternity in a glorified body where sin is no longer a factor. I believe this is what Paul was saying in Philippians 1:6

“being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:”

There is a power to grace that extends beyond the initial forgiveness of sin.

The story of creation and the garden is a powerful story of grace. Here’s this man and woman whom God had shaped and formed with His own hands. He breathed into them His own life’s breath, and they lived. He communed with them one on one. But so quickly they disobeyed God’s command. They immediately resorted to fashioning garments for themselves to cover their sin. The first thought most of us would have would be to destroy them and start over. But God moved with grace and brought them skins from a sacrifice to cover their sin. Yes, there was punishment for their transgressions, but God gave them opportunity for redemption. As we go through life, life sometimes fights back. At times it gets downright hard, sometimes impossible, to live this life well. We face sickness, we face temptation, we face hardships of all kinds, and from somewhere we need strength beyond our own. Enters the grace of God which says, “here, let me lift you up.” Most of the time it is very unexpected, for we know we don’t deserve such mercy, such care, such compassion,…..such grace.

It’s sometimes difficult for us to understand because we humans are not naturally gracious. Too often our grace has qualifications and addenda. “Now I don’t condone what you did, but,” “I’ll show grace this time, but”. That is not grace, that is concession. We humans have more propensity toward concession than we do grace. We seem to feel that we need to somehow protect God’s holy requirements by making sure people know we’re aware of their sin, and that we’re repulsed by it. Shouldn’t that be a given? Why then do we need to repeat it. When Jesus was confronted with the woman who had been caught in sin, His reaction was “neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.” I’m afraid with us human beings it would be “go and sin no more, and I won’t condemn you.”

Grace, too often, is something we show to those we love the most, but withhold from all others. Then there are those who flip that script, and it’s just the opposite. But can such measured grace truly be considered grace at all.

I believe that when we see grace fully and truly at work, we will be stunned. Did He actually do that?

There’s a song that speaks of the “reckless love of God.” Some folks are offended by the thought, but I understand it fully. Why would God care for ME, Philip Rains? Why would God invest in ME? Why would God go all in for ME? To me, knowing me, it seems so reckless, almost like it wasn’t thought through. I think grace, true grace, has to be that unbelievably staggering, to truly be grace.

The grace of God is not something we run to, but something that radiates from God, and in which we abide. It is an eternal part of His character and nature. God alone initiates grace. All grace, true grace, flows from Him.

He does not bestow and then withdraw depending on the situation, but His grace is persistent and pervasive in our lives.

I titled this blog “Grace Unmeasured, Grace Unimagined. I hope you now understand why. If you’re reading this, my prayer for you is that you will abide in the grace of God moment by moment in your life regardless of your need. God’s grace “is sufficient for you.”

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