What does grace mean?2
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith …
- from Ephesians 2:8
Push past the religious language and you’ll hear something beautiful in today’s passage: God gives us something we don’t deserve, haven’t earned, and desperately need.
You don’t earn salvation. We’ll look at that more later in the week.
Today we want to focus on one word: “grace.”
On their All That You Can’t Leave Behind album the band U2 sang a song – “Grace” – that beautifully captured the essence of today’s text. “Grace … a thought that changed the world … finds goodness in everything … travels outside of karma … makes beauty out of ugly things.” [You can listen to the song here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Zk26KXSH3g]
We call it “grace” when we receive something we don’t deserve (per Tony Campolo). God’s grace is free, but it isn’t cheap (per Dietrich Bonhoeffer). Grace isn’t opposed to effort, but it is opposed to earning (per Dallas Willard). Grace offers a spiritual awakening which can lead to a richer, fuller, more productive life (per John Coltrane).
Over the years, lots of theologians, pastors and artists have tried to dig into the meaning of grace. They’ve basked and reveled in it. They’ve wrestled with it and shouted it from the mountain tops.
How would you put “grace” into your own words? How do the above glimpses of grace resonate with your relationship with God? In what ways are they discordant?