I think one of the more common knocks against grace is that it’s not practical. Grace is one of those words we’ve all heard but struggle to define. So we often leave it in the realm of abstraction, not the day-to-day world where all of our choices are lived out.
Even preachers buy into this notion that grace isn’t practical, skewing their teaching to topics that are more accessible, more applicable.
That’s crazy. Grace is fundamental to good theology, and theology is the most practical thinking in the world. For example:
Imagine God (whether you believe in him or not). Imagine that suddenly his attention is fixed on one person: you. What do you assume God feels when he thinks about you?
Whatever your answer, it is enormously practical. I think that what we believe about God, particularly his posture and disposition toward us, bleeds out into virtually every facet of our lives: our drive to achieve, our defensiveness, our hesitations about intimacy, our vanity and ego, our sarcasm…and on and on you could (and should) go.
So, what could be more practical than teaching or thinking about grace? When people hear (and really believe) that God is good and his affection is for you (yes, you!) it changes everything.
We stop living our lives to be accepted by God and begin living new lives because we’re accepted by God.
It begins to sink in that we’re valuable, simply because he values us.
We cling to the truth that we are deeply loved by God though we’ve done nothing to earn it or deserve it.
We extend grace to others, and freely, because, well, it’s the best example we’ve seen.
Jesus came to give us new life, and the power to live that new life begins, for many, with the realization of God’s grace. So let’s hear it for God’s grace, his amazing, practical grace.
I’ve just begin teaching through our core values, grace being one of them. For more on grace, read this.