Hi, I’m Kennedy. I’m a summer intern with This Redeemed Life Ministry. My story is one marked by the redemptive power of God to take a wasted life and make all things new by His Grace. For this reason, I want to share a few things I’ve learned about God’s Grace. First, grace is a gift. It is undeserved favor given to us in Christ. This truth is fundamental to appreciating grace. But secondly, grace, when we truly understand it, is an act of God’s mercy that we should never abuse.
Growing up, my two favorite days of the year were my birthday and Christmas. The reason is quite simple, gifts. Who doesn’t love a good gift? Like most kids, I loved presents. They were free, and I did nothing to earn or deserve them; I just received them. This paints the perfect picture of God’s Grace.
The Gospel teaches us that God offers us a free gift – the greatest gift of all time – eternal life. As Romans 6:23 says: “For the wages of sin is death but the Gift of God in Christ Jesus our Lord is eternal life.”
Let’s take a second to break this verse down. The hard truth is this: “For the wages of sin is death.” This scripture teaches us if we have sinned, which according to Romans 6:23, we “all have sinned,” then because of this rebellion, we deserve death and eternal separation from God. If this verse were the end there, it would be sad indeed. However, it says, “But the Gift of God in Christ Jesus our Lord is eternal life.” Instead of death, God offers us a gift of eternal life when we put our faith in Jesus.
Friends, this is the Gospel of Grace; it is a gift of God.
This truth confronts the lie that many believe God’s love must be earned with good works or achieved with a perfect performance. However, the critical part of understanding grace is that we do not deserve it; we actually deserve the opposite. The Gospel declares that because of Grace, God has made a way through His son, Jesus, so we can spend eternity with Him. So just as Jesus took the place of a convicted criminal when He died on the cross, so Jesus took our place and faced death for us. That’s why the entire message of Christianity is summed up in the word grace.
Now that we understand that God’s Grace is a gift and the only access we have to a relationship with Him, we must address the issue of cheap grace.
The problem in the church today is that many people talk about grace and turn around and abuse it. Some treat God’s amazing grace as an excuse to indulge our sinful nature and consider it a “FREE PASS” to sin. Grace is not a free pass to sin; it is God’s empowerment to free us from sin and evil.
I love how John Piper explains this: “Grace is not simply lenient when we have sinned. Grace is the enabling gift of God not to sin. Grace is power, not just pardon. Therefore, the effort we make to obey God is not an effort done in our own strength, but in the strength which God supplies.”
I went through a season of life when I treated God’s Grace like a free pass to sin. Although I was a Christian, I was living in rebelion and using grace as an excuse. But I was miserable because Jesus died to free me from sin, not to enable me to stay chained to it.
My view of grace changed when I had a revelation of Jesus’ death on the cross. Before that experience, I heard about the cross and believed Jesus died for me, but I didn’t comprehend the depths of His love that would send Him to such a horrific and brutal death. One day while I was worshiping God, I closed my eyes and imagined Jesus nailed to the cross. I could see the blood and His ragged torn flesh. Then, in my heart, I sensed Jesus say, “Kennedy, I would do it again all just for you.” I remember weeping to the point that I couldn’t see straight. For the first time in my life, I understood that God’s Grace is neither cheap nor a free pass to sin.
The Grace of God cost Jesus the excruciating cross. It was for my sin and rebellion that He suffered and died. From that moment, I didn’t want to continue to live in sin and trample over the Grace of God. I wanted to live a life worthy of the One who died for me. My life became a response to God’s love shown to me on the cross. It is this picture of grace that has transformed me. As John Piper said, “It is the enabling gift of God not to sin.”
So whether you grew up in church and have heard the word grace more times than you can count, or you are a seeker reading this, I want to say from one sinner to another, God’s Grace is amazing. When we receive this undeserved gift, we are given life, forgiveness, and freedom.
There is not a day that has gone by since that revelation of Jesus on the cross that I don’t marvel at the mercy and love God has extended to me. Friend, I pray the same for you.
To dig deeper into the Grace of God, tune into This Redeemed Life on YouTube and watch The Wonders of Grace. In this teaching, Marian Jordan Ellis unpacks God’s Word and explains how God’s Grace transforms us from the inside out.
Written by Kennedy Adcock
Kennedy is a Summer Intern with This Redeemed Life. She hopes to pursue ministry after she graduates from Texas A&M in December 2023. You can follow her on Instagram @Kennedy_Adcock