Grace Has No “If”

grace“I forgive you” is GRACE.

“I forgive you, if . . .” is not.

That’s the conclusion we reached last evening as we talked about grace and forgiveness in our weekly Bible Study. (This fall we’re studying What’s So Amazing About Graceby Philip Yancey.)

When someone has hurt us, it is our human nature to insist on the other person’s contrition before we forgive them. They have to say they’re sorry – and really, really mean it. They have to make things “right.” They have to grovel. Or something. Because we deserve it, by golly!

But if we define grace as the gift of forgiveness, then adding any conditions makes it something other than grace. It’s not a gift if you have to earn it.

Grace means we make the first move. We forgive before it’s asked for and before it’s deserved. We forgive even though it might never be asked for or deserved.

That’s the way God forgives us.

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

There are no “if’s” to God’s forgiveness. We are saved by grace. Period.

God always makes the first move.

God does not say, “I will forgive you IF you say you’re sorry and really mean it.” Nor does God say, “I will forgive you IF you follow the rules.”

In fact, God does not say, “I will forgive you” at all.

God simply says, “You ARE forgiven.”

That’s the Gospel.

That’s grace.

(Tomorrow, I’ll answer some of the questions and objections I hear when I teach or preach about grace. Stay tuned . . .)

About pastordavesimpson

I'm an unexpected pastor. Why unexpected? Because no one is more surprised than me that I'm a pastor. See the "About" page on my blog for more info.
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6 Responses to Grace Has No “If”

  1. charles says:

    Despite not being a believer anymore, I still love the concept of grace. Grace is giving someone something good they do not deserve. Mercy is not giving someone the punishment they do deserve. Both are the grease that keep relationships running smoothly. Grace is grease.

    That doesn’t mean we *always* should treat each other with these simple definitions… There are boundaries. There is enabling. But the complete absence of grace and mercy result in very unpleasant relationships.

  2. Ethan Boggs says:

    Great post! Thanks for sharing! I love grace, preach grace, and live grace and still need to be reminded that there are no ifs in grace! Thx

  3. Thanks Ethan for your “gracious” comment!

  4. Pingback: Grace? I Object! | The Unexpected Pastor

  5. Pingback: Grace and Consequences | The Unexpected Pastor

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