People are hungry for grace. That includes you if you’ll admit it. Grace in its most common form means a second chance, a new start. It means receiving a gift when the giver knows you don’t deserve it.
I sang the world’s most popular hymn, “Amazing Grace” as a lad growing up in church. But it took me a while to get it. Pieces of the story bounced about in my boyish imagination. The garden, Adam and Eve, the snake. Moses, who broke the tablets. People wandering in the wilderness, arriving in the promised land. Angels, shepherds, a manger, a cross, an empty tomb, all parts of the grand story. But I only saw the pieces that fired my imagination.
Then one day at my request, our pastor sat with me and explained grace. It was like he took all these puzzle pieces scattered across a tabletop, and simply snapped them together until the big picture emerged. I finally saw it, and responded in joy and gratitude as I received Christ and His grace gifts: forgiveness, new life, and purpose.
I use the word picture of a puzzle to show how God’s grace became clear to me. Grace is a word that defines the theme for the gospel of Jesus. Perhaps that’s why the Bible contains so many stories and word pictures to help you understand grace and its eternal implications.
One of those word pictures is a graveyard, a scene that elicits sad memories and intense emotions. The grave marks the apparent end of a person. But God’s grace is more powerful than the grave. The Bible says, “If we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him…Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 6:8,9,11).
An important truth that emerges is that life in Christ is for the here and now. His invitation is to come and die to self and be raised in Him to walk in newness of life. C.S. Lewis said it like this: “Humanity must embrace death freely, submit to it with total humility, drink it to the dregs, and so convert it into that mystical death which is the secret of life…(Jesus) tasted death on behalf of all others. He is the representative ‘Die-er’ of the universe: and for that reason the Resurrection and the Life.”
As the hymn says, “Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.” That home is not in a graveyard but in Christ, the One who turns graveyard tears into weeping for joy! What a picture of His amazing grace!