By Pastor Anthony Pranno
One of my favorite Christian authors is Philip Yancey. I’ve read everything he’s written and been greatly blessed. Yancey has a way of communicating deep spiritual truths in a manner that can be understood and applied by regular people.
Although they were written 17 years apart, Yancey wrote two great books that have a similar theme: grace. The first is titled What’s So Amazing About Grace? and the second Vanishing Grace. I wish I only needed lessons on grace every 17 years, but rarely a day goes by that I don’t need a reminder or two.
You’d think grace was common to all religions and worldviews, but you’d be wrong. Especially these days, doesn’t it seem like manners and decency have just flown out the window? Grace is not just being nice; it’s offering a gift or favor to someone who plainly doesn’t deserve it. It’s assuming the best, even when every part of your being wants to assume the worst. It’s giving the benefit… and removing the doubt.
An excerpt from What’s So Amazing About Grace? drives this home – and helps us to understand the uniqueness of our faith in Jesus:
During a British conference on comparative religions, experts from around the world debated what, if any, belief was unique to the Christian faith. They began eliminating possibilities. Incarnation? Other religions had different versions of gods appearing in human form. Resurrection? Again, other religions had accounts of return from death.
The debate went on for some time until C.S. Lewis wandered into the room. “What’s all the commotion about?” he asked. In reply, his colleagues told him they were discussing Christianity’s unique contribution among world religions. Lewis responded, “Oh, that’s easy. It’s grace.”
The notion of God’s love coming to us free of charge, no strings attached, seems to go against every instinct of humanity. The Buddhist eight-fold path, the Hindu doctrine of Karma, the Jewish covenant, and the Muslim code of law each offers a way to earn approval… to work for salvation. Only Christianity dares to make God’s love unconditional.
Be blessed, friends. Get out there and show some grace!