The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord – Romans 5:20
My son and I were driving to the store one afternoon, when he asked, “Mom, tell me what grace means.” That would be easy or so I thought and I began listing all those words Webster offers. That’s when the realization of grace came to me. It’s more than single words. Grace is a concept – a big concept. In order to get our mind around it, we have to understand the concept.
Look at grace like this: you take a thimble, a tiny little sewing thimble. Pretend you’re standing on the beach gazing at the ocean. Now, jump in the water, swim out just a bit, dip your thimble in the water, and swim back. Once back on shore, look at the water in your thimble. It’s such a tiny amount of water. Imagine this. That small amount of water, when poured on your head, will cover you completely, soaking you to the bone. One more thing, look at that ocean. It’s huge. You could stand at the beach and dip your thimble into the ocean bazillions of times through your lifetime and never come close to using up the grace that God offers.
One might ask why do you have to swim into the ocean to fill your thimble? Can’t a person do that from the beach? Certainly, but the point of grace is diving into it. The full effects are felt when we immerse ourselves fully into the process. Isn’t that amazing? God’s marvelous grace is so abundant we can’t begin to make a dent in His ocean. Better yet, one thimbleful is concentrated – you know, a “little bit goes a long way” cliché.
There are many Christian concepts that sometimes throw us for a loop when we’re trying to grasp hold. We can be a great theologian and still not really “get” a concept – that’s why it’s important to ponder them. Study. When you least expect it. God will explain it.
So, today when I sat at my desk, I asked the Father, “What’s your definition of grace?”
He pulled his chair close to me and laid His hand on the desk, tapping His fingers in thought. “Grace is my way of canceling out the bad. A freedom of sorts, but one you must make the effort to receive.”
“Did you like my explanation of grace? You know, the thimble story.”
“I did. And now, here’s the question I pose to you. I freely give grace. What about you? It’s easy to receive grace, but it’s hard to give it. Who do you need to offer up a thimble of grace?”
I was stunned. “I thought grace was a God thing.”
“It is. But the idea is the same. If you can receive grace, you must also learn to offer it. It’s not my grace, because only I can give my grace, but you can offer your version of the idea and find a great peace in the forgiveness that lies beneath a simple word like grace.” He makes so much sense when we listen. Who do you need to offer grace?