Max Lucado: The Biggest Mistake People Make About Grace
Sometimes we use that term “grace” so broadly; what are some of the things that we mistake for grace?
I think the big mistake that people make about grace is that they limit it to that one-time event. It is an incredible event. Who would downplay the moment that Jesus saved me?
But if you dig deep enough, most Christians don’t realize that the same power that saved you is the power that’s changing you today, that God has not saved you and then moved over to another person and left you on your own. He is actually, in this very instant, moving and living and changing us. The desire is that this grace of His, this kindness that He has for us, would change us.
So grace becomes the vocabulary by which we live our lives. He forgave me; I’m going to forgive someone else. He’s generous with me; I’m going to be generous with someone else. He is devoted to me; I’m going to be devoted to someone else. And all of a sudden, we find within us a new wellspring of strength, a new vision of life, and it all began with God’s grace towards us.
Why isn't simple grace good enough for us? Why do we tend to lean toward legalism or cheap grace?
I think legalism is alive and active in the church, and that is because legalism gives us something—we think legalism gives us something tangible that gives us security. If I do this, then God will forgive me. If I accomplish this, God will love me. It’s a merit-based system. It’s a barter system. And since everything else in life is based on a barter system, it brings us a sense of comfort to go into our relationship with God in the same way. The problem is, as you know, the Bible doesn’t spell out the system.
Should we be worried when people in our churches abuse grace?
The truth is people will abuse it. They will, but not for long. When grace has its work, it will create holiness. Grace appropriately received creates a desire to do good, not a desire to do bad. This is the promise of Paul in the book of Titus—that grace teaches us to do right. There will be people that abuse it, but I tell you one thing—abused grace is still much better than abundant legalism.