Without even realising it, there are things that we do that render the value of grace to nothing. Without thinking, we say things that nullify the single greatest gift that has ever been offered to us.
One way to reduce the value of grace is to impose rules and regulations on Christians as a part of church membership. Women must wear their hair long. Men must always wear a suit and tie to church. Children must be seen and never heard. A youth cannot pierce their ear. Jesus never forced any of these things on his followers. Rather, he freed them from all those laws.
I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me. So I live my life in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not one of those who treats the grace of God as meaningless. For if we could be saved by keeping the law, then there was no need for Christ to die.
Galatians 2:20-21 (NLT)
Another way to devalue grace is to insist that people “clean themselves up” before coming to Christ. By saying that they must first overcome their vices before they can receive grace, what we are really saying is that God’s grace is great, but not that great.
Yet another—and probably the most grievous—way that we can take away the value of grace is by saying that we ourselves aren’t good enough to receive it.
“Come now, let us argue this out,” says the Lord. “No matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can remove it. I can make you as clean as freshly fallen snow. Even if you are stained as red as crimson, I can make you as white as wool.”
Isaiah 1:18 (NLT)
The entire point of grace is that none of us—no matter how good or bad—are really worthy of receiving it. Its value is based entirely on the person who receives it and what their freedom in Christ is worth to them individually. If we put rules and regulations on grace, it is no longer grace at all, but something that must be earned—which grace cannot be.
So we can argue this out, but both Paul and Isaiah have done a pretty good job of it. Grace is only grace when it is completely free. For only grace that is completely free can set a person completely free.
Daily Bible reading: Isaiah 1-3, Galatians 2