To become a Christian is to be given a new nature, a new identity. You don’t lose the old identity (yet), but you do receive a down payment on who you will be. Therefore, while it is vital to accept your identity as a sinner, it is not sufficient. You must also live out of a sure grasp of your identity as a child of God’s freely given and personally transforming grace. These two identities must be held in a healthy tension and balance. It is only the person who is deeply aware of his sin who gets excited about grace, and it is only grace that can give you the courage to humbly face the enormity of your sin.
Grace is the most transformational word in Scripture. The entire Bible is a narrative of God’s grace, a story of undeserved redemption. By the transformational power of his grace, God unilaterally reaches into the muck of this fallen world, through the presence of his Son, and radically transforms his children from what we are (sinners) into what we are becoming by his power (Christ-like). The famous Newton hymn uses the best word possible for that grace, amazing.
So grace is a story and grace is a gift. It is God’s character and it is your hope. Grace is a transforming tool and a state of relationship. Grace is a theology and an invitation. Grace is an experience and a calling. Grace will turn your life upside down while giving you a rest you have never known. Grace will convince you of your unworthiness without ever making you feel unloved.
Grace will make you acknowledge that you cannot earn God’s favor, and it will remove your fear of not measuring up to his standards. Grace will confront you with the fact that you are much less than you thought you were, even as it assures you that you can be far more than you had ever imagined. Grace will put you in your place without ever putting you down.
Grace will enable you to face truths about yourself that you have hesitated to consider, while freeing you from being self-consciously introspective. Grace will confront you with profound weaknesses, and at the same time introduce you to new-found strength. Grace will tell you what you aren’t, while welcoming you to what you can now be. Grace will make you as uncomfortable as you have ever been, while offering you more comfort than you have ever known. Grace will drive you to the end of yourself, while it invites you to fresh starts and new beginnings. Grace will dash your hopes, but never leave you hopeless. Grace will decimate your kingdom as it introduces you to a better King. Grace will expose your blindness as it gives you eyes to see. Grace will make you sadder than you have ever been, while it gives you greater cause for celebration than you have ever known.
Grace enters your life in a moment and will occupy you for eternity. You simply cannot live a productive life in this broken-down world unless you have a practical grasp of the grace you have been given.
Excerpted from Broken-Down House: Living Productively in a World Gone Bad by Paul David Tripp