By far, the most commonly used word in Christianity (well, and love).
Why is Christianity different than any other religion?
Why are we given a chance at an eternal relationship with God?
Why are you forgiven? Saved? Loved? Pursued?
If you’ve been around Christianity long enough, the novelty of this word has worn off. The meaning has dissipated. The impact has become boredom.
Ya, Ya, Ya, grace. Been there. Done that. Heard it a thousand times.
More than just a spiritual issue, there is some science behind the reason we lose interest in grace.
As John Ortberg writes, “When we first learn [a surprising concept], our minds may keep returning to that thought the way they do to a surprise promotion. We can’t stop thinking about it. However, the day will come when you can stop thinking about it – and not because you’re a spiritual failure. Neurons respond to novelty, and what ceases to be novel ceases to cause neurons to fire.”
Our minds get used to the idea and it ceases to be surprising and fresh!
I’ve been reading Philip Yancey’s “What’s So Amazing About Grace?” (I have to admit I’ve never read a Yancey book). There were a few moments that literally overwhelmed me with tears.
I had forgotten about the reason I feel in love in the first place.
The servants screwed up. The King was punished.
There is nothing we can do to make God love us more.
There is nothing we can do to make God love us less.
It’s free. We don’t deserve it.
I once heard a Mark Driscoll sermon where he said, If you are a sinner and haven’t asked for forgiveness (an unrepentant sinner), God hates you.
In other words, he concluded, God hates sin and the unrepentant sinner. He doesn’t buy into the axiom “God hates the sin, but loves the sinner.”
I don’t buy it. I understand all the truth about God’s holiness, justice, and righteousness, but if we throw the scandalous mathematics of grace out the door, we don’t have God.
The economics of grace don’t make sense. As humans we believe in the “eye for an eye” type of economics. God doesn’t. His mathematics are silly. His economics are scandalous.
May God refresh the novelty of the scandalous, ridiculous, atrocious mathematics of GRACE!
In conclusion, here is a modern day parable of grace, written by me!
As a skinny 17-year-old kid from Miami, Alex Rodriguez was selected number one overall in 1993 and signed for $1.3 million by the Seattle Mariners.
The Mariners groomed him from day one to become one of the best players of all-time. He took his lumps, made lots of errors, and wasn’t always the best player on the field. But through it all, people within the Mariners’ organization loved him, cheered for him, and challenged him.
The before you know it, Alex becomes ARod and one of the very best players in baseball. His day of glory was coming. Despite the Mariners offering ARod plenty of money to make him happy and stick around his first family, he chose to pursue much greener pastures to the tune of $252 million with the Texas Rangers. During this time, he rose to stardom and eventually was traded to the New York Yankees.
He was the biggest star on the best team on the brightest stage.
He dated Madonna, Kate Hudson, Cameron Diaz.
He forgot about his time with the Mariners. He never credited them with his success. In fact, he frequently talked bad about his experience.
And he was the biggest star in all of baseball.
Then one day, his skills begin to fade. The fans in New York begin to boo him. The supermodels are no longer interested. He turns to steroids, to drugs, to anything else to make him the star he once was.
His life becomes a living nightmare.
Hitting .147 with no homeruns and six RBIs in the middle of the 2015 season, the New York Yankees turn him loose and in fact demand he pays back every single dime they ever paid him. He is literally kicked out on the street.
He walks across the country and comes to Seattle, hoping to just find a meal or two and a place to sleep.
Instead, Safeco Field is packed with 45,000 fans. The scoreboard lights up as ARod enters the stadium! The crowd goes wild!! All 45,000 fans are on their feet screaming “Welcome Back! We love you! We are so happy you are home!”
The president of the Mariners greets ARod and says, “Alex, welcome home. We’ve been waiting for you to come back in eager anticipation. We are going to pay your entire debt to the Yankees, we are going to pay you an infinite amount of money, and we are going to put you on the starting lineup. More importantly, you are a part of our family and we love you no matter what you do.”
Although this modern-day parable is a bit silly, this is the scandalous grace of God!
Undeserving. Free. Costly. Amazing.