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Grace is the heart of the Christian message

The heart of the Christian message is that God is ‘gracious’ to us. It’s one of those words we know instinctively but struggle to define.

So what is grace?

It’s like ‘justice’ and ‘mercy’… but not quite:

  • Justice is when you get what you deserve
  • Mercy is when you don’t get what you deserve
  • Grace is when you get what you don’t deserve

If we received justice from God, we would deserve infinite punishment because of the way we have treated an infinitely good creator God.

If he just gave us mercy, we would be declared ‘not guilty’ and forgiven.

On top of mercy, he gives us grace.

He declares us righteous, as perfect as his own Son. He does this because he unites us to Jesus. He adopts us as his children, so that we can call him ‘Father’. He gives us the Holy Spirit so that we are never alone. And that promise will one day be fulfilled in the new creation when we will enjoy being with Jesus forever. None of this is automatic. It is only because Jesus died on a cross, 2000 years ago, taking his Father’s just judgement on our sin. And that can be true for you too… if you want him.

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On top of mercy, he gives us grace.
Grace is the Father’s overflowing love and kindness.

Grace is the Father’s overflowing love and kindness.

So grace is not some kind of good-but-vague substance God ladles onto our heads every now and then. It’s not something he reluctantly scrapes the barrel for when we’ve messed up again. Grace is the Father’s overflowing love and kindness. Grace comes to us in the person of Jesus Christ. And so, empowered by the Spirit, our greatest joy and heart’s desire is to know him better and to walk more closely with him every day.

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