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Saturday, September 8, 2007

Grace has been on my mind a lot lately. Random acts of a gracious nature abound when we look for them, especially when the people of God are in step with His plan. But I was wondering about the connection between acts of Grace and acts of Kindness. Both are certainly virtues of the human spirit, but I have to think that there is something fundamentally distinct about each one. For instance, does it mean the same thing to say that God’s kindness is what saves us from our destiny of sin? I think not. Rather, there is something peculiar about grace; it is not kindness but something else. Whereas kindness is thought of in terms of common human decency, grace seems to be more powerful, more intimate and more authentic than some random act of kindness.
Grace is indeed a two-edged sword. As the classic hymn goes “twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved.” Grace causes fear and trembling? Yes, because it is grace that makes us aware of our sins, and it is grace that demonstrates just how unholy we are in the presence of a holy God. At the moment that grace enters our minds and hearts it does two things: it first convicts us of the depraved lives that we have been living apart from God’s grace, and also extends a most precious forgiveness to us on account of that sin. Thus, in one instant, grace causes us to shudder in fear and quiver in joy.
Now, does that sound like kindness to you? Nah, kindness has nothing on grace. Kindness is not the mark of the believer – any random person can commit an act of kindness. Rather, it takes a born-again believer to demonstrate grace in their life, for only they have shuddered at its arrival.

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