To be gracious is nice, attractive and pleasant. But to extend true grace (in the biblical sense), is far deeper than a mere social grace; it’s even more than undeserved favor. We’ve all been the recipients of kindness or gifts that were not particularly deserved; blessings that seem to come from nowhere. For these we should be grateful and, as a matter of course, we should frequently be the source of such blessings to family, friends and strangers. Deep grace takes it several steps further; this kind of grace is ill-deserved favor. It’s what Jesus extends to His people on the cross. He shows favor to those who have really offended and sinned against Him, and He shows that favor at His own expense.
6 For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. 10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. ―Romans 5:6-11
If the offended God, who is holy and perfect, can extend His grace (His ill-deserved favor) to sinners like us, then what should we, the recipients of such grace, extend to those who have sinned against us? Are we full of His deep grace? This has some very practical applications for all of us. As imitators of our heavenly Father, we should be the picture of deep grace. We should be people who are not primarily concerned about demanding justice for ourselves, but rather extending grace―ill-deserved favor―toward those who have offended us. That’s not to say that offenders should not repent of their sins, confess them, and ask for forgiveness (that does make reconciliation much easier). Godly grace, however, lays down its life even while the sin is still present; it takes the hit; it pays the price. Grace is motivated by love for the object of grace. It’s a sacrifice (which is what love is); it’s a free gift for the good of its recipient. The giving of this kind of grace is an act of self-denial in pursuit of peace. Jesus was our Peace Offering. He bore our sins in His body. “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21). When the grace comes first (as it did with Christ), then it is common for the sinner to come to see his sins in the light of grace.
This is an issue that comes up repeatedly in all of our lives. In a fallen world there are lots of sins and sinners. We are offenders and we are sometimes the offended. And so we must regularly ask: Who do you need to be reconciled with and what price are you willing to pay to accomplish that reconciliation? What price did Christ pay to be reconciled with you?
30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. 5:1 Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. ―Ephesians 4:30-32―5:1-2