In the book Holy,Holy,Holy, R. C. Sproul tells the story of his second year in teaching. He had been assigned to teach a class on Old Testament Introduction to 250 college freshmen. As part of the coursework, Dr. Sproul required three small papers due on the 30th of September, October and November. Twenty five students missed the deadline in September, but he showed some leniency. Next month some 50 students missed the deadline, and he graciously gave them three more days to turn in their papers. By this stage Dr. Sproul was one of the most popular professors on campus. When November came around, 150 students crossed the deadline, and R.C. started handing out failing grades. One student called Fitzgerald cried foul, and protested that what the professor was doing was not fair. Sproul reminded him if it was justice he sought he could give him an “F” for his tardiness in October as well. Reflecting on the whole semester, R. C. Sproul said this: “These students had grown accustomed to my grace. In September they were amazed by grace, in October they were surprised by grace, but by November they were demanding grace. They had forgotten that grace is not an inalienable right or an entitlement you deserve.”
How easy is it for us as Christians to take God’s grace for granted, to move from being amazed by it to being accustomed to it. We mistakenly assume upon God’s goodness, and to presume upon His mercy as if it was owed to us. But grace by its very nature is amazing, and must always be seen as such. Grace is God’s unmerited favor coming to us despite our sin through Christ. Grace is God’s riches at Christ’s expense. It is not owed, it is not merited, but rather it is granted sovereignly and surprisingly by the indiscriminate love of God. By nature we are hell deserving sinners, and by grace we are heaven born and heaven bound.
Life and all its attendant blessings is an amazing gift from God, and eternal life with its endless joy is an even greater gift! According to the apostle John, we have through Christ received from God grace upon grace, grace replacing grace (John 1:16). You and I live under the shower head of God’s effluent grace. On a day to day basis, we are showered with saving grace, strengthening grace, serving grace, singing grace, and sufficient grace (Eph. 2:8-9; 2 Tim. 2:1; Rom. 12:3-8; Col. 3:16; 2 Cor. 12:9). Any good that comes to us, any good in us, any good done by us, is God’s good work in Christ. Paul acknowledges he was what he was by the grace of God (1 Cor. 15:10). As an old Scottish saint prayed, “May God grant us grace to feel our need of grace, then give us grace to ask for grace, then give us grace to receive grace, then when grace has been given, give us grace to be grateful.”
Today, put amazing back into grace!