Grace is one of those words we use a lot as Christians, so it is useful to know what it means.
There’s a children’s song that gives as good a definition as any I’ve come across:
“Grace is when God gives us the things we don’t deserve.”
In other words, we do not deserve for God to give us anything good, but because of his grace he gives to us abundantly. We certainly don’t deserve for him to give us eternal life in Christ, but that is where his grace is displayed most spectacularly.
One of the best known of all hymns was written by John Newton – he was someone who really knew that God had not dealt with him as he deserved. He was a slave trader and generally immoral; not the sort of person with whom respectable people would associate. And yet to him, God showed amazing grace and his life was completely transformed.
Yes, God does give us as sinners what we don’t deserve, but he does not leave us to continue to live in sin. His grace in our lives means immense change – for the better. John Newton’s hymn sums it up perfectly:
Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind but now I see.
Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come.
Tis grace that brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home!