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'Give me' Grace

Grace is undeserved. No amount of doing will ever put us in a position where we can stand before God and argue that we deserve grace. In one sense, recognizing our dire need for God and salvation, we beg God for this grace. "God, give me grace" can be the plea of one who is desperately seeking God's forgiveness. "God, be merciful to me, the sinner!"

But sometimes our attitude represents an entirely other kind of "give me." This attitude claims a right to some benefit regardless of actions. "Give me what I want, and I don't need to do anything for it. Give it to me anyway." This is selfish and demanding, not a cry of desperation. This is a cry of self-righteous entitlement.

While God provides grace, never can we afford to think that we are free to demand His grace. We are not in a position to demand anything of God, and Scripture warns against treating grace flippantly. It is possible, through twisting grace, to turn it into a license to sin (Jude 4; Romans 6). To do such and then still expect grace is to turn grace into some kind of divine entitlement program whereby the benefits are given regardless of what we do.

God freely bestows His grace, lavishes it upon His people, and all that He does is to the "praise of His glory" (Ephesians 1). Grace may be "free," but it is not cheap. The cost was nothing less than the blood of Jesus (1 Peter 1:19). God's love was so great that He gave His Son (John 3:16). This grace is not to be treated lightly or carelessly. We have no right to take it for granted.

This is why obedience should never be seen in contrast to grace. Obedience is not an effort to earn. It is a privilege. It is not a way to manipulate God's favor. Obedience is the humble submission to the One whose offer of grace should touch us so deeply that we should not dare to shun Him through disobedience. While obedience does not earn us anything, disobedience is a rejection of God's grace.

Grace, far from being the opposite or in contrast to obedience, includes obedience. The very fact that God has revealed how to submit to Him is itself His grace at work.

"For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds." (Titus 2:11-14)

Let us never refuse God's grace, revealed so powerfully through Jesus, by rejecting obedience. Only our pride would be behind such a refusal. Remember, "God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble" (1 Peter 5:5).