Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Grail of Grace

My vote for the least understood teaching in the Bible is grace.  There are several really good reasons why I believe that, but the bottom line reason is that when grace is understood, it changes people.  It's ironic that the concept we've heard about the longest is also the one that will bring about the greatest change in our life - if we "get it".  We learn a cute Bible school definition of grace, accept the fact that it is the reason we are saved, and tend to file it away with all the other religious terms that we save for conversation with those who understand the secret language of Christianity.  At any point in my four and a half decade walk with God, if you had asked me if I understood grace, I would have proudly answered, "Of course," but - of course - I didn't.  I don't now.  I know more now, but to say I completely understand the depth of God's grace would be a huge overstatement of the truth.
Lately I've been thinking a lot about, and studying, what the Bible says about grace.  I am planning to do some writing about grace, and I feel strangely unprepared.  Oh, I've got plenty to say, I am just woefully aware of how much I don't know.  My seeking to know God better, and to understand his grace, reminds me of one of my favorite movies.  It is my favorite Indiana Jones movie, The Quest for the Holy Grail.  I love the interaction between Indy and his dad.  The climax of the story is when they finally find the entrance to where the Grail is kept, but they must first master three deadly challenges/puzzles/tests before they can go into the room with the Grail.  Everyone fails the tests - except Indy, who has some serious close calls, and he finally reaches the goal.  The problem is that the Grail is hidden in the midst of a score of other Grails and cups, and he must pick the right one.  If you haven't seen it - he does and the bad guy picks the wrong one.
Seeking to understand grace is like Indy's journey to find the Grail.  There are tests, challenges, and "leaps of faith," but each new discover seems to just widen the possibilities and avenues for further seeking.  That shouldn't surprise me.  After all, seek grace is seeking God.  Grace is love - God is love - so God is grace!  I think that is why grace is so difficult to grasp.  It's not a definition, or a Greek word to translate.  Nothing we know or have experienced can fully enlighten us as to what it really is.  It certainly isn't just "unmerited favor" or " a gift we don't deserve".  It is God!  It is what he is, does, thinks, and gives.  It is how and why unholy people can be united with a holy God.
So yes - it is the Holy Grail we are looking for.

1 comment:

Deborah said...

I love reading anything that emphasizes a holy God!! Thanks for this post.

I have enjoyed catching up on your posts, since I've been gone for two weeks. The one about making fun of you...well...I'm BECOMING you! I can only imagine the arsenal MY boys will have.