I recently attended a conference and heard a pastor speak about grace. The kind of grace I have rarely heard spoken of before. Maybe I haven’t been listening. Or, maybe I wasn’t ready. But, this grace was a grace that saves – without conditions, without rules, without stipulations.
Many of us have grown up with rules. Rules that were followed by consequences that we often allowed to determine our worth, should we choose to follow them as instructed. Many of us have grown up never having experienced what grace really means.
Charlie Bing, the pastor that spoke at the conference I attended, said it like this: “Grace is free. It was given as a gift to those that believe in the work of Jesus Christ. That was it. It wasn’t promised to those who truly believed or really believed with all their heart or to those who repented and then believed. It was just given—plain and simple, free and clear—to those who believed. God didn’t say that we had to get cleaned up, quit our dirty habits and then He would accept us. He said, ‘Come to me.’ Yes, it was that plain and, that simple.”
So simple, Charlie said, that it is usually not an easy thing to just accept. And, he’s right.
I know from experience that it’s not easy. By our very nature we feel that if we receive something, we have to earn it or pay for it or, in many circumstances, owe something back. After all, isn’t one of the most popular sayings of all times, “Nothing is free”? We’ve all heard it and we’ve probably all said it. But God said, “Believe” and that was it. Just believe. Believe and there’s a wonderful gift awaiting the soul that seeks… salvation! It’s that plain and it’s that simple.
I found myself sitting there all weekend saying to myself with every statement of this new-found grace, “That’s too easy.”
I have always thought I had to push harder, serve more, stay later, do more, do it all. From childhood on, for whatever reason, I felt I earned my worth by what I did, how much I could do and how well I did it. This determined who I was. Grace didn’t enter into the picture very often, if ever.
But now I know better and one of my favorite verses has become, ‘You were saved by grace through faith and not by works…”
I have been saved by grace and, you have been saved by grace! We didn’t have to do anything to earn it. We don’t have to do anything to keep it. It was offered for free and free of charge, it is ours to keep. We owe nothing.
“Come to me,” Jesus says. “Come to me and I will give you rest.” Rest from the work, the rules, the regulations, the self-imposed laws and the legalities we pile on our shoulders. Simply…
It is in the coming that we find grace and it is in the receiving that we are set free. What grace!