The fundamental idea is, that the blessings that are graciously bestowed on us are freely given, and not in consideration of any claim or merit. In a world obsessed with justice, penalty, and “fairness,” the idea of grace is down right heretical.
Here are the top five reasons grace is often rejected.
Reason 5. Grace is inimical to the Western can-do spirit. It implies that we self-sufficient ones have a lack that must be compensated for by someone outside ourselves–in this case, God.
Reason 4. You can’t control grace. It comes from surprising places–like the African mother who adopted her son’s killer. Grace is a bequest and can only be received.
Reason 3. Grace requires a different opinion of others. In the story of the Prodigal Son, the elder brother is resentful of his younger brother who received their father’s grace in spite of the fact wasteful living. In the elder brother’s view his younger brother didn’t deserve such generosity. Grace recognizes that none of us does.
Reason 2. Grace makes us fearful that people will abuse our generosity. That was a concern in the church at Rome to which the apostle Paul wrote a letter. “Shall we continue to sin in order to enjoy more and more grace,” they asked Paul. More likely than not, grace produces humility not excesses.
Reason 1. Grace requires that we put revenge to death. Simmering anger and the desire to get even are not permitted in a disciple of Jesus. “Turn the other cheek,” Jesus told his disciples, and “Love your enemies.” These are hardly things that a person lacking in grace can do.
Grace is personified by Jesus. Behaviors that are created by grace are generosity, forgiveness, thankfulness, and the recognition of beauty. Where grace exists there is a tasted of the Kingdom of God and its benevolent rule.