The riddle of grace

Riddle: Once you get it, you have to give it; and if you can’t give it, you never got it. What is it?

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God’s grace is radical. God’s grace is so radical that it doesn’t just change the rules; it overrules the rules. It makes the rules no longer necessary. God’s grace creates a fundamental change in the way we relate to God. It rewrites the book on religion and the whole idea of pleasing God. The idea behind religion is to find out what God wants us to do and not do, and try to follow it to the best of our ability. Whether it’s crawling on our hands and knees, or confessing, or obeying, or memorizing, or chanting, or meditating, or sacrificing, or flagellating oneself, none of it means anything in light of God’s grace, because God’s grace does not depend on anything from us. That’s what makes it so hard on one hand and so easy on another. Hard, because we can’t do anything to get to Him, and easy, because He has already done everything to get to us.

This is why “religious” people don’t know what to do with the grace of God because they are people who have to do something. They can’t just accept a free, unearned gift, because then they can’t take any credit for it, and if they can’t take any credit for it, then they can’t judge anyone. There’s no one to judge if we’re all undeserving. Where’s the pride in that? There’s no caste system, no levels of Nirvana, no spiritual pecking order. If you accept God’s grace as a free gift, then you take your place along with the lowest of the low, because grace puts everybody on the same level. Grace is only for those who are undeserving of it, and there are no levels of “undeservedness” (my own word). We’re all on the bottom, and He lifts us all up, and no one can take any credit for their seat at the table because they just showed up for the banquet and found their name tag, and sat down, and are pretty clueless about anything else, except that they can’t believe their good fortune to even be there in the first place.

And this is why Grace Turned Outward is nothing we achieve; rather, it’s a sign that the grace we received is really God’s grace. Once you receive something so wonderful and so entirely unearned and undeserved, well, you quite simply want everyone else to have it, too. Grace Turned Outward is evidence of Grace Taken Inward. It bubbles over, like the woman at the well who excitedly ran home and brought the whole town out to meet Jesus because He knew everything about her and still accepted her. The whole town!

Once you get it, you have to give it; and if you can’t give it, you never got it.

 

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8 Responses to The riddle of grace

  1. John Fagliano says:

    The more you give it away, the more you’ll keep it. The more you hoard it for yourself, the less you’ll have. What is it?

  2. hahimes says:

    YES, YES, YES, YES!!!! We always want to be doing something to show that we earn whatever we have. But God’s grace is a GIFT. Freely given to us by God, meant to be received without apology and given out again without condition. God, please help us to allow ourselves to be loved. And then not be afraid to share without fear.

  3. Mark D Seguin says:

    Yet another absolutely fantastic Catch, Pastor John an Amen came up from my belly as I read this: “…none of it means anything in light of God’s grace, because God’s grace does not depend on anything from us. That’s what makes it so hard on one hand and so easy on another. Hard, because we can’t do anything to get to Him, and easy, because He has already done everything to get to us.”

    Then the tears stated flowing from my eyes & down my cheeks while reading this: “We’re all on the bottom, and He lifts us all up, and no one can take any credit for their seat at the table because they just showed up for the banquet and found their name tag, and sat down, and are pretty clueless about anything else, except that they can’t believe their good fortune to even be there in the first place.” Amen & Amen and Praise God for His goodness & grace!!!

    There are still days when I look back to when I heard the Gospel message & responded to an alter call in the Christmas Service of ’79 and thinking as the Rev. DeRenzo (RIP) gave it, I remember thinking if this guy knows something I don’t – my Mom didn’t raise no dummy, I’m going to go talk to him and find out. By time I stood up and walked throu the crowded pew aisle and walked half way down to the front of lil Bible Church the Holy Spirit got ahold of my heart and I’m about balling my eyes out like a lil boy! At the time I didn’t understand why I am crying so hard!?! Something hit my heart – I can now see it looking back on it , I fully believe I was saved before I prayed…

    A very nice & kind gentleman Mr. Byers (RIP) a Deacon and such a dear sweet man as I got to know him & his two sons years later. Lead me in a prayer of Salvation out of Romans 10:9 (a Mark’s paraphrase) If you confess w/ your mouth the Lord Jesus & shall believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead – you shall be saved. and also, quoted Ephes. 2:8-9 For by grace are you saved, not by works….

  4. jwfisch says:

    Praise the Lord for dear Mr. Byers!

    • Mark D Seguin says:

      Big Amen before I sit down @ “… for the banquet and found their name tag, and sat down.” I’m looking forward to giving Jesus a great big hug of thx & gratitude, then Pastor DeRenzo & Mr. Byes!

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