AMAZING GRACE - THE BEAUTY OF GRACE
By Isabella Kang (with permission)
"Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see."
These words to the well-known hymn were written by John Newtown, a former slave trader who sold and bartered human lives. By today's standards, his crimes would rank high on the hierarchy of immorality and his behavior would be condemned by society. Yet, how does a person go from inflicting misery onto others to humbling themselves before their Creator, and acknowledging their wrongdoing, branding themselves a "wretch"?
John Newtown is one of many sinners who became transformed by the power of a gift, something that cannot be bought or quantified.
Grace is one of the most beautiful words I have ever come across in the English language. Other words that stem from it such as graceful and gracious all contain positive connotations to the listener of the word. Unlike other words that have been tarnished by vulgar use, "grace" has not been cheapened.
Unlike other ideologies or religions which emphasize doing good works and being able to go to heaven via human strength, Christianity offers us the way to eternal life- it is through God's grace and through our FAITH that we can be saved. Indeed, by mere mortal power it would be impossible.
So why is grace so beautiful?
*Grace is a beautiful gift- a genuine gift is given often without an expectation that it will be reciprocated. When a gift is given, it comes from the generosity and the love of the donor to the recipient. We are undeserving of grace but God is ready to give it to our broken, sinful
*Grace is relational- In order for grace to be a gift, it is a two-way street. There has to be a giver, and a recipient. Grace needs to be accepted, before it is activated into our lives.
*Grace is immeasurable- you cannot quantify grace according to a number or based on the degree of the sin's severity. God's grace is unchanging- it is there 24/7. God doesn't say "I'll give X% grace to Y because they committed murder and I'll give Y% grace to Z because they lied." His grace stands still for everyone regardless of their sin.
*Grace is priceless- grace cannot be purchased with money or attained by virtue of one's social class, position, prestige or wealth.
*Grace sets us free- Prior to grace, there was the law. The existence of the law bound people to tradition, to rules and to legalism which led to acts of piety or religiosity. But grace got rid of the hypocrisy that was embedded into religiosity as opposed to living a life of a faith. Now, we can live in freedom with certainty that we will have eternal life as opposed to adhering to a set of rules hoping we will got o heaven.
Irrespective of the amount of wrongs we have committed, the degree of criminality that is attributed to our personal records, we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
Have you ever heard a sweeter word than grace?