Grace is an oft-misunderstood topic in the church. I think we’re all growing in our understanding of grace, but many of us grew up in church contexts believing we needed to earn our grace.
I was blessed to grow up with a fairly healthy understanding of God’s grace, the gift he freely gave me regardless of my action, inaction, or sin. My mom grew up in a church context that was centered on dos and don’ts. It was critical to attend services three times a week and dress certain ways. Drinking alcohol was out of the question. She was taught that many rules were necessary to earn God’s grace.
Ephesians 2 refutes this so clearly: “For it is by grace you have been saved through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8–9 NIV).
As Christians, of course, we do have a way we should live. God gave us one precious word to guide us: love. Love God, love others—so simple, and yet so hard, and proof that simple does not equal easy.