From Tammy: This is a guest post from my friend, Heidi Kreider. She is the author of The Secret of Counting Gifts. I loved her book, and have been fortunate to learn much from her in a short time. You can follow her on Twitter or on her blog here.
Running between the pews in my Sunday dress and scuffed church shoes, I hear them again, or at least that’s how my memory goes. I hear the church ladies discussing someone’s latest escapade… “Well, now, he certainly has fallen from grace, hasn’t he?”
I can remember them tisking all zipped and buttoned in their Sunday best and shaking their Sunday-coiffed hair. I didn’t stop running. I didn’t need to. I knew, without knowing the details, that only the really bad ones fell from grace and that those who ran in church weren’t the really bad ones. I figured I was safe.
It’s only now, all these decades later, that I remember this. Truly, this is simply a memory my mind has stored away and I am not sure that my memory is exact. I do know, though, that I’ve heard the phrase “fallen from grace” more times that I care to count and each time from inside the doors and walls of a church.
Grace = undeserved merit or favor
I grew up with an elementary understanding of grace. I knew about the grace of Jesus Christ that had Him die for my sins so that I could have eternal life. I knew that grace was amazing as we sung about it. Along the way, thanks to the church ladies, I also learned that though the definition of grace is undeserved merit or favor, I had better work hard at hanging on to that because at any given moment, I might screw up and lose it.
Now, all these years later, I’m relearning grace. Most of what I knew and understood about grace from my childhood was true and right. My salvation only comes from the grace of Jesus Christ and His grace is amazing. What I learned by listening to gossip, though, I’ve had to relearn. By its very definition, I can do nothing to deserve grace. I cannot work hard to hold on to that which is freely given to me, nor can I fall from it.
Grace is simply that… undeserved merit or favor.
And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace. Romans 11:6
Regardless of what I once heard while running through the church in my Sunday dress and Sunday shoes, there is no “fallen from grace.” Even if I were to commit the most hideous sin, I cannot fall from grace.
I can only fall into it… which I do, time and time again.
How have you fallen into grace?
***Heidi Kreider is a wife of 18 years… mom to 3 Es… homeschooler, writer, blogger, and Jesus Lover. She uncovers God’s presence at www.heidikreider.com because everyday is a gift.