The Truth About Grace

by Teri Lynne

Grace is scary. Really scary.

We can't control grace. And we like to control.

That's why legalism is so appealing.

Legalism allows us to define faith by skirt lengths and Bible translations.
Legalism allows us to separate ourselves from those who go "there" or do "that."
Legalism allows us to ignore the poor and oppressed because "they made the wrong choices."
Legalism allows us to judge spirituality by church attendance and committee memberships.

If there's one lesson we should have learned from Eve it's this ~

Just because it's appealing doesn't make it good.

Grace looks nothing like legalism.

Grace finds us, seeks us out.
Grace looks at ashes and sees beauty.
Grace looks at mourning and sees hope.
Grace looks at death and sees life.
Grace looks at sin and sees salvation.

There are mysteries about grace that confound us ... it doesn't make sense ... and we prefer what we understand.

We prefer the rules and regulations, the do's and the don'ts. And sometimes, even when we're the ones being judged, we still prefer that.

Because legalism is all about us ... there's nothing holy or set apart in legalism. It's ugly. It's sneaky. But we "get" it ...

And so we stay there because the discomfort of what we know is much less frightening than the uncertainty of what we don't.

But here's the truth about grace ...

Of ourselves, we cannot explain grace.
We can never make sense of God who gave His Son for our sins.
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." ~ John 3:16
In ourselves, we cannot earn grace.
We can never do enough or be enough to earn the gift of salvation nor to keep ourselves in right relationship with God.
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:" ~ Ephesians 2:8
By ourselves, we cannot extend grace.
Only through the love of Christ in us can we ever give this great kindness of grace to others. We are called to manifest the fruit of the Spirit in our lives which only comes through the grace we find in Christ Jesus.
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law." ~ Galatians 5:22-23
In receiving grace we find ...

the freedom of not needing an explanation.
the joy of not needing to earn our relationship.
the blessing of extending that grace to others.


Teri Lynne is an avid lover of books, constant drinker of strong coffee (with lots of sugar and creamer), and passionate follower of Christ. Married to Scott since 1996 and mother of Casiday since 2000, Teri Lynne, in her words, is living her own happily ever after ... mostly. Writing and teaching women to live empowered, confident lives in Christ and HIS strength is a dream come true for her. You can find her musings almost daily at "Pleasing to You" where she encourages, challenges and inspires others to pursue lives that are pleasing to God.


10 *click here* to dialogue with us:

{ Sisterlisa } at: October 1, 2009 at 8:32 AM said...

Teri Lynne, this is amazing! Well written and really touched my heart. You described how I feel about grace. Thank you!

{ Mrs. Bridget G. } at: October 1, 2009 at 9:05 AM said...

But you forget about the ladies who choose "skirt lengths and bible translations" out of obedience. You clump all women who choose to discern into a "legalistic" category. And that sort of thing breeds judgment.

James 20-26

{ Teri Lynne } at: October 1, 2009 at 1:05 PM said...

Thank you. I am the recipient of such great grace how can I give anything less to others!

{ Sisterlisa } at: October 1, 2009 at 3:14 PM said...

I linked in my skirt article.

{ Beth } at: October 2, 2009 at 8:11 AM said...

How you have a way with words. Great job once again sister dear!

{ Teri Lynne } at: October 5, 2009 at 6:00 PM said...

I feel this bears clarification on 2 levels:

1. "Skirt lengths and Bible translations" was intended as an example of peripheral issues that can become distractions within the Church. I chose those examples not an indictment of anyone who has a specific call to either but rather an example of how we can allow personal convictions to influence how we relate to others within the greater Body of Christ.

2. The greater issue in this post is our response to those who do not hold to the same principles we have for our own Christian lives. Allowing ourselves to measure anyone's godliness against our own standard - even a standard revealed to us specifically for our own lives by the Holy Spirit - opens the door to becoming prideful and judgmental.

In no way did I "clump all women who choose to discern into a 'legalistic' category" ... however, I do apologize if you felt judged. Again, not my intent. For me, in dealing with fellow believers who may not have the same specific interpretations of Scripture, I choose to espouse the wisdom in this statement by St. Augustine, "In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; and in all things, charity."

{ pjmomof3boys } at: October 8, 2009 at 2:06 PM said...

Beautifully said! I think you hit it dead-on when you said, "...the discomfort of what we know is much less frightening than the uncertainty of what we don't." We WANT to understand. We LIKE things to fall into neat little categories. But grace isn't like that, and for most of us at one time or another, that's really hard. When we try to limit God's grace to legalistic standards or guidelines, God steps in and reminds us that it's not for US to judge or to extend grace. Our job is to receive grace, no questions asked. What better job could there be?

{ Jennifer Sikora } at: October 9, 2009 at 3:51 PM said...

I love this post! People who are really scared of what grace truly means stays in that little God box and never ventures out to the real reality of what grace can do.

{ jenny } at: October 10, 2009 at 5:13 AM said...

I agree with your post. There is legalism on the one side which strives for a perfection and then ends up being caught in a religion of works and too quickly can spiral into a list of do's and don'ts.

{ Nikki } at: October 10, 2009 at 1:29 PM said...

Exactly...legalism gives ME control. Grace gives GOD control.
I have never thought about it in this way before.
Thanks for writing and offering all God gives you.

Share SLF