Does Religion Explain Grace Accurately?

Ever wonder about grace?

• How do you get grace?
• Where does grace come from?
• Who gets grace?
• When do you get grace?
• What does grace REALLY mean?

I have been purposefully pondering grace for weeks now and discovering some surprising things in scripture about it. My dilemma – too much to share at once!

Hence, a series on exposing the misunderstandings of the how, where, who, when, what of grace – then concluding with scriptural clarity to explain true grace. I realize several of these posts will be offensive to some, but if you hear me out through this series, you just might welcome the slaying of some sacred cows that you had no idea were such.

If you have grown up in religious Christianity you may identify with some of the typical explanations of grace below. But, have you ever thought past those religious meanings to their implications about who God is?

Traditional Religious Christian explanation of graceReligion explains Grace

1) God’s unmerited favor
2) Getting what you don’t deserve (of course mercy is then defined as “not getting what you deserve”!)
3) God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense

Are these definitions true and accurate about grace? NO!

Let’s examine religion’s explanations and implications.

According to the dictionary
favor – has to do with approval; preferential treatment; a kind or obliging act freely granted
unmerited – not deserved
deserve – you are qualified for or have a claim because of actions, qualities, or situation

In essence religion is saying – you don’t deserve any approval or kind act by God. You are not qualified or have any claim to receive His approval, but in spite of that He will oblige you with kindness. After all, remember you are a “wretch” (think “Amazing Grace” song).

Religion’s acronym for grace – “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense”

Not sure who came up with this, but it is catchy, easy to remember, and recite. At the surface it seems appropriate.

However, what does this really say about you and God?

What are God’s riches? What is Christ’s expense?

The ‘riches’ are the riches of His love? The ‘expense’ is Jesus’ horrific death on the cross?

Does that make you feel all warm and cozy inside? Or does it make you feel guilty? How about, it makes you feel like an awful rotten person when you consider what Jesus had to do for you – you wretched person, you.

Does God want you to feel guilty? Does God want you to feel miserable about what your rottenness made God have Jesus do? Does God want you to be remorseful and regretful about what your sin did to Jesus’ life? No, no, no.

Is this what grace is about? NO!

Dig In
• Have you ever thought about the ‘pat answers’ you have been taught?
• Have you ever considered those ‘pat answers’ from religion just might be wrong?
• Is grace really undeserving, or is it something way beyond religion’s grasp?

P.S. Next post – “How you get grace” according to traditional religious Christianity.

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9 responses to “Does Religion Explain Grace Accurately?

  1. Interesting thoughts, Its good to wrestle these things over, I guess I can just accept what others say too easily. I’m interested to hear how you would describe grace though.

    • Thanks for your comments, Ally. I agree, it is good to wrestle about these things, especially when we realize we could blindly accept things so quickly. If you stay tuned you will see what I have discovered about grace in the scriptures. Quite the eye opener! But first I will be laying out in a couple of posts what religion says about grace. Then the good stuff! Bliss

  2. Wow. It does make you feel guilty. I do not want any more guilt. Waiting for next post.

    • Jamie, thanks for taking time to comment! Isn’t it something the guilt (and fear) that comes with religion’s way of being a Christian?! Or is it more accurate to say – the guilt (and fear) that comes with TRYING to be a good Christian according to religion? Oh to know our true identity! Grace boldly declares it. Glad you are eager to ‘Dig In’ and get the ‘Fullness’! Bliss

  3. Your insights give me hope.

    • That’s wonderful, Leslie! Hey, did you know that hope in scripture has to do with confidence? And He wants you overflowing with it! Stay tuned – more good stuff, according to His word, is coming. Bliss and abundance to you. 🙂

  4. Great, Nancy! This reminds me of my discomfort with the phrase “There but for the grace of God go I.” In essence that says that the person to whom a terrible thing has happened was not deserving of God’s grace while “I” am.

    • Gail, thanks for bringing up this saying/slogan “There, but for the grace of God go I.”! What a great example of religious verbiage.

      Another sad example of how we misunderstand God’s grace/favor. You are so right – this could make it sound like someone who experiences something difficult does’t have God’s grace and since nothing terrible is happening to me that means I have His grace/favor.

      It could also have a judgmental slant to it by implying – without God’s grace I could be doing that mean hurtful thing that person just did. Thus meaning since I have His grace I would never do that or God wouldn’t let me do that. Obviously those who use that phrase imply that ‘mean’ person does not have grace. We are also implying, ‘What a rotten mess that person is’! This means God’s grace is limited and partial.

      Scripture and God’s actions say otherwise.

      Thanks again for your insightful comment.
      Bliss

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