What Is Grace For?
I read a story about this lady who was an orphan. She was a normal girl, who was also a slave. During her lifetime, there was a powerful man who owned many slaves, that set up a training program for women who meet certain requirements. At the end of this program, one woman would be chosen to be his wife. The amazing part of this story is that the man chose her, an orphan and a slave, out of all the beauties, to be his wife! Sounds like a Cinderella story right? But it’s a true story.
Esther was the slave girl who became a queen. I believe she was beautiful and that the King loved her. In her time as queen, her family’s lives were threatened. They were still slaves, and the king had no idea what was actually going on, so neither the king nor the slaves could fix the situation. The king was being manipulated by an advisor and Esther found out about it. Esther had a decision to make. She had to decide if she wanted to tell the king the truth to set these slaves free from coming doom, which meant risking her own life, or, stay silent to save her life and position as the queen, still beautiful and still loved.
Now hold that thought and let’s briefly look at the word grace. When I think of grace, I think of two things:
- Grace for me
- Grace for others
The word Grace is defined as unmerited favor. The Hebrew word Grace means to help, find refuge, or salvation. The idea that comes to my mind is someone getting rescued. Now, let’s go back to Esther’s story.
Esther was in a great place, she had received great grace and had become more than she could have ever dreamed. She was beautiful, pampered and so loved. Her life was more comfortable than she had ever known before. She submitted her life to the process the king set up, received grace and was chosen. As Christians, we too have been saved by grace, chosen by God, the King of Kings, to live a life better than we could ever imagined or made possible ourselves. But that grace wasn’t designed just for us to have great lives. Let’s look at what Esther did when facing a difficult life-threatening decision.
Esther told her family and friends to pray, she chose to risk her own life to help save others who couldn’t help themselves. She chose to use the grace she was given to rescue others. When she told the king what has happening, he believed her and through his authority and might the children of Israel were saved. An entire nation was saved, because she risked her comfort and shared grace with them!
You see, I believe the grace we have been given isn’t just to “stay a queen” and live a great life. I believe we can use our great lives to help those who can’t help themselves, specifically those who are living the life we used to live. More specifically, a sinner needing a savior. We are the best candidates, just like Esther was, to extend the grace we were given, to those who are hurting. Esther was once a slave, she knew the lifestyle, the thoughts, the struggles, she was the perfect person to rescue the slaves. We too are chosen by God to share His love and saving grace, to those who don’t have access to the King, to those who are struggling with the same thoughts, issues and bad habits that we used to live in.
Technically, if Esther didn’t speak with the king and address the man wanting to destroy the Children of Israel, she would have become a slave to the manipulation, to the lies and again, a slave. Just now a slave in a palace. Her life would not have been spared for long. AND she would have then sided with the man who was manipulating the king, instead of addressing the problem. Paul says in Romans 6 verse 15 & 16 “What then, since God’s grace set us free from the law, does that mean we can go on sinning? Of course not! Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living.” (NLT)
Until we recognize that grace isn’t to live a life outside the lines and use it to make excuses for living without convictions and lack of commitment to standard, we are miss using the grace that we have been given. We are still loved and chosen, but wasting grace and a slave to sin in a less uncomfortable state.
So what is grace for? It’s for helping others find a way out of the bondage we were once stuck in ourselves. Grace is for helping the shamed find acceptance, the guilty find freedom, the broken find healing, the hurting find joy, and ultimately the human find Jesus. Let’s take the position of grace that we have so gracefully been given and extend it to those who are desperate for a new way of life and to those who are looking for true freedom. Does that make sense?