How do you respond when someone gives you a costly gift of incredible worth? Of course “worth” can be somewhat relative. When I was sixteen my mom and dad helped me buy my first car. This car would have been the star of any car show. She was a sassy golden brown 1988 Honda Accord fastback, fully equipped with manual everything, three hubcaps and droopy headliner. It was love at first sight as she held a special place in my heart for all of three months. For those three months she was the cleanest, shiniest car you would have ever had the privilege of riding in. But over time her worth slowly cheapened and so did my appreciation and care for the once beloved 88 Honda Fastback. No longer was she a sassy golden brown, fully equipped with manual everything, three hubcaps and soft droopy headliner. It was more like a disgusting shade of brown of which I am not sure would even qualify as a paint job. Fully equipped became fully held together as long as you didn’t touch it. The three hubcaps became one cracked hubcap and the droopy headliner just no longer existed. How did something I once considered so costly and valuable turn into something I considered so cheap?
Sometimes I wonder if we treat GOD’s grace that way. Grace could be understood as GOD doing for us what we can never do for ourselves. By grace we are rescued from sin and brought into a relationship with GOD through Jesus Christ. By grace we are rescued from a subtle (or blatant) sense of slavery to our own desires and self-made meaning and purpose. By grace we are empowered to live the lives we were created to live: a meaningful and hopeful life of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control. By grace we are led by GOD Himself to live the kind of life that really works when lived under the reign of GOD. By grace we are assured of life after death and will live in the presence of GOD forever in a world that will finally be free of the brokenness of sin and death. No wonder why at first we see it as costly and invaluable in worth. We are overcome with the emotions of “love at first sight” and our response to grace is one of love, thankfulness and sacrificial obedience. We are aware of its cost and rich place in our lives as sinners saved by grace. But as life in Christ goes on, somehow grace loses it’s beauty and intrigue. Has it actually cheapened? Or have we become so accustomed to grace that it demands no real sacrifice or ethical consistency in our lives?
GOD wants us to be overcome by the richness of grace so that we might learn how to enjoy Him fully as we give our lives away for His mission of redeeming humanity and the world. Grace doesn’t mean that we are free to live however we want. It means that we are free to live as people who are loved deeply by a GOD who through Jesus Christ, give freely. Grace compels us to step out into the trenches of a hurting world and love deeply, give freely and live boldly.