If you were to ask me to try to describe God in two words or less, I would do it this way: GRACE. PERIOD. If you were to ask me to try to describe the average Christian in two words or less, I would do it this way: GRACE PERIOD.
Let me explain.
When you think about God, all that He is and all that He does, you can sum it up in two words: GRACE. PERIOD. That’s it! And YES! it’s that simple. Peter referred to Him as “the God of ALL GRACE ...” (1 Peter 5:10), and that’s exactly WHO HE is and WHAT HE does.
Think about it.
When you think about creation, the beginning of the world, can you think of a better way to describe it than: GRACE. PERIOD?
When you consider God’s dealing with Adam, in the garden, giving him a beautiful wife like Eve, wouldn’t you say that was GRACE. PERIOD?
And how about when they disobeyed God and sinned? How did He respond to them? What did He do? How was He going to handle this one? You could say God’s response was GRACE. PERIOD.
What about Noah and the Ark? Again, GRACE. PERIOD. How about God’s dealings with Abraham? Isaac? And Jacob? GRACE. PERIOD.
And Joseph? GRACE. PERIOD.
What about Joseph’s brothers? That’s got to be GRACE. PERIOD.
Moses? Again, I’d have to say, GRACE. PERIOD. And what about the Israelites? If that’s not GRACE. PERIOD, I don’t know what is.
Come to think of it, when you consider Gideon, Samson, David, the prophets, and the entire Old Testament, it’s all a story of GRACE. PERIOD.
So is the New Testament!
Think about it. Jesus coming to earth. The Master in a manger. Mary. Joseph. The “No Vacancy” sign in the innkeeper’s window. The stable. The cows. The smell. The hay. The angels. The shepherds. What do you call that? I’d call it GRACE. PERIOD.
But the story doesn’t end there. What about everything else Jesus did? His entire life and ministry can be summed up in two words: GRACE. PERIOD. How would you describe His interaction with the woman at the well in John 4? Or the woman caught in the act of adultery in John 8? You’d be hard pressed to call it anything other than GRACE. PERIOD.
What about the men He chose as His closest disciples? How did He respond when they messed up time after time or did the exact opposite of what He’d just taught them? What about all the people He fed, both spiritually and physically? Or all the people He healed? GRACE. PERIOD.
What about His death on the cross? Have you ever tried to describe His crucifixion and felt incapable because words seem so utterly inadequate to picture what really happened that dark afternoon? Let me give you a two-word picture: GRACE. PERIOD.
That’s why Paul told the Ephesians, TWICE: “It is by GRACE you have been saved ...” (Ephesians 2:5b & 28a).
Think about it. In all of God’s dealings, throughout the entire history of man and continuing today, He has always responded in the same way: GRACE. PERIOD. That’s WHO HE is and WHAT HE does. It’s always GRACE. PERIOD. Nothing more. Nothing less and nothing else.
HERE’S MY QUESTION: Why is it, then, that those of us who are the completely undeserving recipients of God’s GRACE, are so slow and reluctant to extend that same grace to others? Why is it when we do extend grace to others we usually require a GRACE PERIOD instead of GRACE. PERIOD?
Why is it that those of us who’ve been forgiven by God would so often be so slow to forgive like God? Like the unmerciful servant in Matthew 18, who received incredible grace and mercy and yet, gave nothing of the sort to others. In fact, he gave the exact opposite. What should our response be? A GRACE PERIOD? Or GRACE. PERIOD?
You already know what our response should always be. The same as God’s: GRACE. PERIOD.
“But you don’t know what they did to me.” Doesn’t matter. GRACE. PERIOD.
“You don’t understand. They don’t deserve grace.” Neither did you. Neither do I. GRACE. PERIOD.
“I’ve been hurt too much to give someone so undeserving, grace.” Really? What if God said that to you? He still could, you know. Better give them GRACE. PERIOD.
“Well, they need to prove themselves first. Then I’ll forgive them.” No. You’ve got it backwards. God doesn’t do that with you, and you’re not going to get away with doing it to others. It’s not a GRACE PERIOD we’re to give others. It’s GRACE. PERIOD.
If you’re a Christian, two words changed your life forever and those two words ought to describe every one of us and everything we do.
© 2014. Barry L. Cameron
Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. Pastor Cameron and his wife, Janis, have three children and two grandsons. He’s the author of the bestseller: The ABCs of Financial Freedom, Contagious Generosity, and The Financial Freedom Workbook. The Cameron family has been completely debt free since November 2001.