18th March 2012

The Logic Of Grace

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not of yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.”
Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV UK) 

As rational entities, we human beings don’t trust things that don’t make sense. When we come across something that doesn’t seem to add up, we don’t like it. We look for alternative explanations and possibilities. If we are going to believe something, we want it to be logical and rational. 

Maybe that’s why so many have a hard time with the gospel. When we take the gospel for what the Bible says it is, it doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t add up. The gospel declares that our sins have been forgiven and we have been made new in Christ without our lifting a finger to make it happen. 

That isn’t logical, so we look for other explanations. We tell ourselves that our sins will be forgiven only if we commit ourselves not to sin any more. We imagine a set of guidelines or rules that we must keep in order for God to apply his forgiveness to us. We try to make sense out of something that doesn’t make sense to us. 

In Romans 5, verses 8 and 10, we read that God loves us so much that Jesus died for us while we were still sinners. But that doesn’t add up. Why would God forgive us before we even repent? So we look for other explanations. Romans 5, verse 6 says that Christ died for the ungodly. But that doesn’t make sense. Why would God want to forgive ungodly people before they even promise to stop being ungodly? So we look for other explanations. We want to see repentance come before forgiveness.

Ephesians 2, verses 1-10 says that God forgave us while we were still dead in our sins. It even says he made us alive with Christ and seated us with Christ in heavenly places while we were still dead in our sins. Notice verse 9, above. 

Now that makes no sense at all to us. But we can begin to see a pattern emerge. When it comes to God’s grace, there is a new kind of logic. The logic of grace goes against the grain of everything that makes sense to us. But it makes sense to God. To God, love is everything, and only his grace generates love in human beings. Only his unconditional forgiveness and healing can raise the dead to life. 

But that doesn’t make sense. We just cannot imagine how unconditional love, unconditional forgiveness, and unconditional healing, can result in anything but more sin. Why should a person trust and follow Jesus if they’ve already been forgiven anyway? 

Because that’s how the logic of grace works. Titus 2:11-14 tells us that it is the grace of God that teaches us to say no to ungodliness. Not punishment. Not force or persuasion. But grace. Who would have guessed such a thing? 

So we can simply believe the good news in faith that God loves us unconditionally and that he knows what he is doing even if it doesn’t make sense to us. 

Holy Father, thank you for your grace. And thank you that we don’t have to understand it perfectly for it to apply to us. It is enough that you tell us that this is so. And we praise you and thank you that it is so. In Jesus’ name we pray.

Study by Joseph Tkach

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