Grace is one of those “churchy” words that we hear a lot about.
Recently I have questioned how much we truly understand grace.
Sure, if you attend church on the regular then you may know the Biblical definition of grace.
You may have heard that it is the unmerited favor of God.
God’s love and mercy for us that we never deserved but that he gave so graciously through Jesus Christ.
All that we are as believers is because of grace.
Grace is central to our faith.
Ephesians 2:8 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.
We are saved because of grace.
We are forgiven because of grace.
We are free because of grace.
We are here because of grace.
God has stirred my heart to not be satisfied with the surface understanding of grace.
There is great danger in our walk if we don’t seek out a heart understanding of grace.
We see this in the parable of the unmerciful servant in Matthew 18:23-30
“Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.“ At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded. “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back. “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt.
We see here that Jesus is telling the disciples a parable. A parable is a story that uses relevant situations to help us understand a deeper message.
In the beginning Jesus is describing the way in which you and I have been saved.
We owed a debt we could never pay – just like the servant owed 10,000 bags of gold to his master.
But the master looked at him and had pity. Wiped away his debt and let him go to be free from it all.
This is the grace that has changed everything. This is our story.
But what happens next?
What happens next is what will happen when we settle for a surface understanding of grace.
The servant that had just been forgiven of so much walks away and forgets all about it.
You see, the grace he received didn’t change the way he lived.
The scripture says he walked and found the one who owed him 100 silver coins – which is a significantly small amount in comparison to what he owed his master.
The servant demanded that this man pay.
The grace he received didn’t change the way he lived his life.
He allowed the grace to touch the surface but not enter his heart.
I wonder how many of us can find ourselves in this parable. We have received so much grace from God. He has saved our lives. His grace has kept us standing when we felt we couldn’t stand anymore.
But how grace-filled are we? How quick are we to extend grace to our brothers and sisters? Or do we demand someone repay or make right what they have done?
Maybe we only have a surface understanding of grace. Maybe we need to seek out God so that His grace can change the way we live our lives.
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13
The writer is a pastor and corps officer with the Salvation Army Sidney/Shelby County.