It is the knowledge that you are pleasing to God right now regardless of what you have or haven’t done.
Grace is the realization that you have already earned a place in the kingdom of God, but you didn’t do anything to get it.
Grace is knowing that the law has already been fulfilled. There isn’t anything more you can do or anything you can add on to make it any better.
Grace is knowing you’re forgiven.
Grace is receiving the gift of being everything you wanted to be.
Grace is looking in the mirror and liking what you see, only because you know that’s what God does.
Grace is a starting point. It’s starting at a point at which you never thought you could be, even if you spent your whole life working for it.
Grace is the absence of judgment.
Grace is utterly and completely received. There is nothing you can do to get it.
Believe it or not, we don’t like this. Grace, as wonderful as it seems, gets turned down every moment of every day. We don’t like it because we have nothing to do with it, and that doesn’t set well with us. We don’t like receiving free gifts; we get very nervous around that. We feel much better being in control of something. We were made this way — made to earn our way. We want to get somewhere by following the rules or sit around and complain about how we can’t. But to start out where we are already pleasing to God … what is that? That doesn’t compute using the math we learned in school. It just doesn’t add up, and that makes us nervous, because if this is true for us, it’s true for everyone. And if this is true for everyone, then it changes dramatically how I see and treat other people.
Or as a friend of mine just taught me: “How dare I judge anyone that Christ gave His life to forgive.”
How dare I lay on other people burdens that Christ has not laid on me.
How dare I have one set of rules for me and another set for everyone else.
How dare I make a big deal about anyone else’s sin except my own.
These last few observations are all about grace turned outward. Once I realize and accept God’s grace for myself, I must of necessity apply it to everyone around me, or I am merely showing that I have, in fact, not received it for myself. You can’t turn grace outward without fully taking it in.
Surrender. Receive. Jesus paid it all; there’s nothing more you can do but accept it. And once you’ve accepted it, you won’t look at anyone the same way again.