Because of his love, God had already decided to make us his own children through Jesus Christ. That was what he wanted and what pleased him, and it brings praise to God because of his wonderful grace. God gave that grace to us freely, in Christ, the One he loves. Ephesians 1:5–6 (NCV)
“Wonderful grace of Jesus, greater than all my sin; how shall my tongue describe it, where shall its praise begin? Taking away my burden, setting my spirit free, for the wonderful grace of Jesus reaches me.” – Haldor Lillenas
I love to sing. I’ll sing in the shower. I’ll sing in the car. And I even love to sing in church. Many times, a word or a thought will bring a song from the past to memory. It is not that I do not like more recent praise and worship songs; it is just that they do not stay around long enough to be firmly planted within me.
Several weeks ago, the venerable gospel hymn, “Wonderful Grace of Jesus,” came to the forefront of my mind, and I have been singing it ever since. It also caused me to engage in a game that I like to play, recalling other songs about grace. There are quite a few of them, but probably the most familiar is “Amazing Grace” by John Newton. One thing led to another, and now I am writing about God’s grace.
The Superlatives of Grace
Anyone who has been around church for even a short period of time can provide a definition of grace. The first one that comes to mind is “God’s unmerited favor.” A dictionary or a theological explanation of grace is not enough. When we talk about God’s grace, it is often prefaced by adjectives like amazing, glorious, wonderful, and we could go on and on.
Philip Yancey, in his book What’s So Amazing About Grace? wrote, “Grace means there is nothing we can do to make God love us more… And grace means there is nothing we can do to make God love us less… Grace means that God already loves us as much as an infinite God can possibly love.”
Do not misunderstand. God has always been a God of grace. Noah was the first recorded recipient of God’s grace: But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. Genesis 6:8 (NKJV). Moses also recognized the necessity of receiving God’s grace (Exodus 33-34).
However, grace had its complete introduction to humanity when Jesus came: The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14 (NIV)
No matter how many adjectives or superlatives we attempt to employ in our description of grace, we will always come up short. Only in the person of Jesus Christ is grace ultimately revealed.
More Than a Definition
Although we may be able to offer a definition of grace, that is not enough. We must be cognizant of the reality of grace in our lives on a daily basis. We are familiar with the term “losing one’s faith,” but what about “losing one’s grace?”
We do not refer to the idea that grace has actually departed from someone, but instead, what happens when someone no longer recognizes the grace of God present in their lives? How can someone have joy or peace if they do not see God’s grace? Is victory over the tests and trials of life possible for someone who has lost the awareness of grace?
Were It Not for Grace
I related the little game I like to play with songs on a specific theme. After the song “Wonderful Grace of Jesus” came to my mind, others followed, including one of my favorite songs sung by Larnelle Harris: “Were It Not for Grace.” Here is an excerpt:
Were it not for grace
I can tell you where I’d be
Wandering down some pointless road to nowhere
With my salvation up to me
I know how that would go
The battles I would face
Forever running but losing this race
Were it not for grace
I may not be able to prove this, but I believe that in many cases, people who seem to “lose their faith” possibly “lose their grace” initially. You see, when someone loses their awareness of God’s grace, how can there be hope? How can faith operate without the foundation of God’s grace?
Wonderful Grace of Jesus
He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 2 Timothy 1:9 (NIV)
Let’s sing about grace. Let’s talk about grace, but most of all, may we never forget about God’s grace. There will be times when the enemy tries to persuade you that you are beyond God’s grace but don’t believe it. In the chorus of “Wonderful Grace of Jesus,” you will find this simple phrase, “All sufficient Grace for even me.”
God’s grace is not just partly sufficient, or even mostly sufficient, and it is all-sufficient. At a time when things look like a mess in the world and perhaps even in your life, remember that God’s grace is all-sufficient. Just as “Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord,” so can you and I.
Photo: “Rainbow over Masai Mara, Kenya” (Steve Ekeroth, 2022)