By Dr. Harold Sala
Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16
“What is grace?” asked a Sunday school teacher of a group of young people. “Grace,” responded one of the youths, “is the name of a girl in my school.” But, really, what is grace? In simple terms, grace is God’s generous response to the needs of my life. It is His provision for all that I need, His answer to the pain and loneliness of my life.
Few people today really understand this powerful biblical concept, and seldom do pastors and Bible teachers take the time to help people understand how great is the debt of every child of God to our Heavenly Father because of these marvelous acts of God which we describe as grace. Has an understanding of God’s grace been pushed aside by preaching about love? Unquestionably! Are the two, different sides of the same coin? In a sense. God’s grace is the vehicle, the conduit of God’s love which touches our lives at our greatest point of pain and need.
A true understanding of what grace is has to include an understanding of man’s helplessness and sinfulness; and this, of course, includes my own inability to change myself. Strange, isn’t it, that today we have more self-help books, more psychologists, psychiatrists, and counselors, more miracle medicine than ever before; yet the fact remains, we have more hurting people than ever before.
One of the toughest things in the world, however, is for us to come to a place of humble admission whereby we are willing to cry out, “Help! I can’t solve this myself. God, will You help me?” Why is it so hard to do this? Stubborn independence. I want to do it myself. I don’t need You to help me.
I like what Hebrews 4:16 says: “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Notice what this says: With confidence we may come before God and find grace. Find what? Grace. Remember? Grace is God’s answer to your need.
What is the need you face right now? Healing, forgiveness, help with your marriage, food, clothing, companionship? There are as many answers as there are people. The response of God to my need isn’t because I deserve His help or favor; it is because of God’s generous nature which allows Him to do what we humanly find almost impossible to understand. Why? Because what God does is so foreign to what we would do if we were in His place. Our old nature says, “Why should I treat the beggar at my door with kindness; he hasn’t done anything for me?”
Grace is one beggar telling another beggar where to find free food and lodging. But in reality, grace is not free. God demanded that someone pay, and that someone was the very son of God, who became sin for us that we might receive God’s free gift of salvation. “For it is by grace you have been saved, though faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8,9), wrote Paul.
No wonder Robert Robinson wrote, “O to grace how great a debtor Daily I’m constrained to be! Let Thy grace, Lord, like a fetter, Bind my wand’ring heart to Thee. Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love! Here’s my heart, O take and seal it; Seal it for Thy courts above.”
RESOURCE READING: Romans 6:15-23.