Grace is Amazing, But Hard to Explain

Christian Holy Cross Engraved on Parchment

I am not a Bible theologian, so today’s blog is pushing me way out on the plank over the pitching seas of exegetical danger, so I apologize for offending those with seminary degrees and those who are infinitely better qualified to write on this subject.  As a friend stated in regard to another situation, I am indeed hanging heavy weights on thin threads.

I believe that one of the most difficult concepts to portray in writing or speaking is the grace that God gives to us not only at our salvation, but every day of a believer’s life.  People who have not placed their faith in Jesus Christ will have no idea what you are talking about.

There is a good reason for this challenge. Since our sinful nature desires to put us in charge of our own lives, our own success, our own good works, we are “bent” to take control of our own salvation and our lives.  In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, chapter two, verses eight and nine, we read about an arrow right through the heart of that desire, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.”

So then, we as recipients of God’s grace decide to communicate about that to others and we sit down to write our book or sermon or script. We try to put grace into words so that it would make logical sense to someone else.

Then it hits you.

You are immediately reminded how costly this “free” gift actually was. You’re speechless.  Your fingers stop working on the keyboard.  You stand up and walk around the room, wipe a tear from your eye and say a prayer of thanks to the God who loved you so much that he sent his Son to die in your place, as if to say, “And by the way, here is a special gift for you…eternal life, my Son paid for it”.

How am I supposed to put that into a story without sounding downright unbelievable?  After all, we work for things in this life.

Courage, sacrifice, stamina, love, faithfulness…great stories are built around these things, but God’ grace is a tough one because it doesn’t depend on us.  We take no credit for it.

It would be a lot easier to write without grace being involved at all.  It is much simpler to explain something we can control. People work hard, get better and better, working their way up the salvation “ladder”, courageously helping others and generally being a wonderful person.  When they have done enough good things, have enough good-deed points, the climax of the story happens and everyone is happy and congratulated for a job well done. What a hero!

Actually, grace makes for the greatest stories. The thief on the cross to be with Jesus in paradise when just moments before he was going to hell. The relentlessly forgiving father and his prodigal son who didn’t deserve anything but was restored anyway. The Apostle Peter being allowed to say yes, he loved Jesus three times as each of his three denials from a few days earlier were wiped away one by one.

Grace is a great ingredient. It was paid for by someone else and it’s free. Use plenty of it in your recipe.

9 Responses to Grace is Amazing, But Hard to Explain

  1. Robin Bayne April 29, 2014 at 6:28 am #

    I think you summed it up quite nicely.

  2. Jim Lupis April 29, 2014 at 7:10 am #

    Beautiful post, Dan. Actually, you did a great job in describing Grace. My favorite acronym for grace is:

  3. Julie Sunne April 29, 2014 at 7:12 am #

    Well done, Dan. Difficult to explain any better.

  4. Jeanne Takenaka April 29, 2014 at 7:16 am #

    I agree, Dan. Well done. Sometimes it’s good to look at the examples God’s given us in the Bible to get a flavor of what grace tastes like, looks like and use that to write into our stories. I’ll be coming back to this post again. Thanks for this.

  5. Gail Gaymer Martin April 29, 2014 at 7:44 am #

    Grace is a gift that is so often overlooked. I read a wonderful book by surgeon and friend Harry Krause who uses the air we breathe to bring grace to life. Like the air we breathe, we do not see it, but we feel, we need it, we trust it, we know it is there despite all visual evidence. It provides healing for our soul. The book was out a few years ago and Harry brings his medical brilliance into the creation of this book.

  6. Chris April 29, 2014 at 12:19 pm #


    Right. Right. Right. It is hard to explain, It is a miracle.

    What is the miracle?
    Sinners standing in the presence of a holy God.

  7. Wendy Macdonald April 29, 2014 at 8:59 pm #

    Dan, the same grace that Jesus extended to the thief on the cross truly does pertain to each one of us. It’s one of my favorite bible passages. We’ve all missed the mark by miles, and it’s all about Jesus bridging the great divide. I love all three examples of grace you used.

    Blessings ~ Wendy ❀

  8. Kathy N. April 30, 2014 at 5:22 am #

    Thank you! I’m going to watch out for a subtle salvation by works message that might creep into my stories. Insert grace!

    • Lora Sawyer May 4, 2014 at 12:50 pm #

      The definition of grace is “undeserved merit.”
      Mankind is undeserving of God’s gift of salvation.
      “There is none righteous, no not one.” “Our
      righteousness is a filthy rags,”(among many others.)
      Both are scriptures concerning the state of man
      before trusting Christ as Savior. Mankind deserves
      hell, but because of God’s grace, He made a way
      for eternal life. Our sins are forgiven, simply
      because of His Grace. His great love…His Grace
      is sufficient!

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