If you’ve read much of my stuff, you’ve probably realized by now that I’m a word person:) I love to know the truest meaning of the words we use. I’ve been thinking so much lately about the grace of God, and a single word came to my mind to describe it:
The word radical means “affecting the fundamental nature of something; far-reaching or thorough.”
Growing up in church, I thought grace was solely defined through salvation and the forgiveness of sins. I thought grace began there and ended there. It seems silly now, but I would sing the song Amazing Grace and feel saddened because I thought I would never have as much appreciation for God’s grace as others did since I came to know Christ in my early childhood and loved Him from then on. In fact, I would pray and ask God to give me a deep, sincere gratitude for His grace. What I didn’t realize was that it was truly an understanding of grace that I needed.
Radical - “Affecting the Fundamental Nature of Something”
Grace is defined as “kindness, favor, a gift or blessing brought to man through Jesus Christ” (Strong’s).
So, in the case of grace, not only did Jesus “affect the fundamental nature of” grace, Jesus DEFINED grace! It was “brought to man through Jesus Christ:”
For from his [Jesus] fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For ... grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. (John 1:16-17, ESV)
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, (Romans 3:23-24, ESV)
Grace for salvation and forgiveness of sins through Jesus Christ is the catalyst for everything. It is the very reason for our existence and the single calling we all share - to extend that grace to others. Grace for anything else would be useless without the grace that saves us from our sinfulness. Grace is epitomized at salvation.
Radical - Far-Reaching
The grace of God reaches into our sinfulness, shows us glimpses of the love of God, speaks into our God-created longing and draws us to Himself...WHILE we are sinners:
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8, NIV)
If you think you’re the worst of all sinners, that there’s no way God’s grace could be extended to you, take a look at the grace of Jesus WHILE He was on the cross:
And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:33-34a, ESV)
Jesus asks His Father to forgive the very people who were crucifying Him WHILE they were crucifying Him!
It’s as if Jesus said, “They don’t understand they are crucifying the One who created them.”