Standing on the ground of grace
It’s a word we hear in church often. We hear it outside of church too—we speak of a dancer who dances with a certain grace, a certain beauty and delicacy. People say grace before a meal. If someone offends another, they may have the grace to apologise. You may receive a year’s grace before you must pay a debt—but if you don’t pay, you’ll fall from grace. And if Kate Middleton were ever to come here, she’d want you to call her ‘Your Grace’. It’s a very positive word!
Yet grace has another kind of positive meaning when St Paul says,
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God…
Here, the word ‘grace’ means something greater and grander than any of the other ways we use it.
Grace is a great word, one of the greatest in the whole of the scriptures. We read in John’s Gospel chapter one that ‘grace and truth came through Jesus Christ’:
the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.
And Paul says in Romans,
since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand…
Jesus Christ has brought us grace upon grace; grace is the very ground on which we stand.