We then …beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. (2 Corinthians 6.1)
How can God’s grace be wasted? Paul seems to imply that it can be in the above text. Before we look at that question we need to understand exactly what God’s grace is.
It is a word seldom used these days unless in messages or Sunday school lessons. I know a few ladies named Grace and have heard statements like, “She walks with such grace.” leading me to believe that it is an elegant word. But what is God’s grace in the Bible and how is it that one can abuse it?
You may have heard this short definition for the bible word grace, “unmerited favor”. I’ve often repeated the following definition of “mercy” and “grace”, “Mercy is not getting what one deserves. Grace is getting what one does not deserve.” Did that make sense? You may have to stop and think about that one just a minute.
Let me illustrate the two ideas:
Mercy – When I was five or so it “stole” a grape from the fruit stand at Cadillac Market. Theoretically the punishment for stealing would have been at least a stiff warning and at most jail time. Charlie, the store manager had mercy on this five year old and didn’t give me what I deserved.
Grace – Someone walks up to you this afternoon and hands you one hundred bucks! Oh how you wish! You don’t deserve $100 but in grace they give it to you. It was their choice and not yours. They favored you with the monetary gift.
Grace is favor. We see it in various locations in the New Testament. Here In 2 Corinthians 6 Paul urges the believers not to “…receive the grace of God in vain”. So, what was going on?
Think of it this way. The Creator God made you. He sent His only Son to Redeem you from endless separation from Him in Hell. Your Salvation is a priceless gift. When you received Christ as your Savior you became an eternal being who will reign with Christ and inherit His riches. However, when you take that gift and do nothing with it you waste God’s favor. You shame His grace.
It would be like spitting in the eye of the guy that gave you the hundred bucks. No, it would be much much worse. To waste God’s grace is to look the crucified Savior in the face and spit in His loving eye.
Get this! God favors you even if you are not His. You unbeliever that spit in Jesus eye without a thought are favored by God’s common grace. That grace keeps your heart beating, lungs breathing and food on your table. One day that grace will cease and His favor will be meted out in eternal punishment. That punishment too will demonstrate God’s grace as it will reveal His perfect justice. God is favoring you right now accept it don’t waste it.