Grace Taught My Heart to Fear

Exodus 33:19
The Lord says, “I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.”

1 Timothy 1:12–13
Paul wrote: I am grateful to Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because he judged me faithful and appointed me to his service, even though I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and a man of violence. But I received mercy.  

“An unrepentant heart will view grace as entitlement.” That quote, shared at a stewardship conference several months ago, has stuck with me. More and more, that understanding is critical to a proper embrace of the grace and love of God in Jesus Christ. It is key to receiving kindnesses, merciful treatment, and all manner of good things as gifts from God, without abuse or disdain. 

We are not entitled to grace. To view it as something to which we are entitled destroys the very nature of grace. But grace, by definition, is receiving something you don’t deserve. So, even though we’re not entitled, God’s grace is offered to all. It pours out of the side of Christ on the cross. It streams from the heart of God to all people. It flows to blasphemers, persecutors, violent men, and boastful women. 

Those who receive grace as it truly is will never think of themselves as entitled to it. We know we don’t deserve God’s grace. We do not believe it can be forced or coerced – else it becomes something else. But we who have received God’s grace might well be reminded of our need for it, and to receive it in such a manner that we truly fear, love, and trust in God above all things, people, or pretenders. 

A repentant heart will receive grace as a cause for gratitude, generosity, and glory to God. That’s my goal for today, for I am deeply grateful for God’s grace.

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