Grace / by daniel hamlin

 Ireland, 2016.

Ireland, 2016.

Grace certainly is amazing, isn’t it? I’ve grown up in church so I’ve heard the word “grace” more times than I can count. I’ve always known I needed God’s grace, that thanks to His grace there is hope for my life and for mankind as a whole. But it’s only been in the last couple of years that I have found a much deeper and much more genuine appreciation for His grace. If I’m being totally transparent, I think it’s in large part due to the humbling realization of how far I fall short so often in life. It’s one thing to feign humility and say, “oh I know I need grace, I’m only human.” I’ve had that attitude most of my life. But it’s an entirely different thing altogether to come to terms with the reality of the corruption that, apart from God’s grace, would dwell within me. There dwells within even the best of us a level of selfish ambition and vain conceit that is unpardonable apart from God’s grace. And as humbling as it is to admit, I’ve been forced to come to terms with this reality in myself the last couple years. And even though it’s been a humbling and often times uncomfortable process, I’m forever grateful for it. It’s been one of the most freeing experiences of my life.

We often think of grace as an elementary principle. It’s often viewed as though it were a doctrine we learn and then move on from to deeper things. But grace is not something to be graduated from. Grace and the reality of what Jesus went through on the cross cannot become comfortable for us. It must never lose it’s wonder, awe, and value. Grace has to be consumed daily. It has to permeate every fiber of our being. We have to take up residence within the city limits of grace. We must become citizens of grace. We have to reside in grace. Life is not sustainable apart from it. We have to deal with each other with grace. Our relationships ought to leave a residue of grace in them.

Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

The original language of this verse in Ephesians makes it a definite article, meaning it actually says, “For by the grace you have been saved…” There is something unique and altogether different about God’s grace. It is the grace, the only grace that has the power to forgive sin, the only grace that has the ability to save, and the only grace that is capable of making us stand.

It’s recorded for us that a woman named Mary came to Jesus while He was dining one night. She took a pound of perfume and anointed Jesus with it, and the fragrance of the perfume filled the entire house. It’s estimated that the cost of that much perfume would have been roughly a years worth of wages. It might seem extravagant or wasteful to pour out a years worth of wages at Jesus’ feet. But the reality is that Mary had a profound understanding of the value of the grace she experienced in Jesus. How much is grace worth to us? Mary had experienced life apart from grace and when she finally experienced life in the reality of grace it changed everything for her. She understood that grace had an identity, and His name was Jesus. Mary’s adoration for Jesus, her desperation for grace caused a fragrance that permeated all those around her, it filled the house. 

God’s grace is an altogether different grace. It quite literally changes everything. It offers hope in a hopeless world, it offers redemption in seemingly unredeemable circumstances, and it offers purpose where there once was none. I hope and pray that I will value grace the way Mary did, that my life would have a fragrance of grace that permeates those around me. And I’m thankful that for all the times I fall short God’s grace is sufficient to cover it and lovingly draw me back to the source. It certainly is an amazing grace.