The {Whole} Grace Story

I grew up the consummate good girl under an all too common brand of people-pleaser, perfectionist, values-based goodness.

Consequently, when I came to the Lord it was more out of desire than necessity. Not that I didn’t need Him – I just didn’t realize how much. My sins seemed small – the little, white variety vs. the sordid list of transgressions that poured out of the deep, dark testimonies I heard.

Back then I almost wished I could say God redeemed me out of some dirty, scary place. Like it would have made my witness more powerful than the run of the mill, “nice girl skips down the aisle and is washed whiter than she already was” version I got to tell.

Now, I realize I’m redeemed enough. We’re all pulled from the pits of hell by the work of Christ no matter what road we were traveling to get there. Each of us are sinners in our own right, regardless of size, stature, or stereotype.

When you have worked to be good all your life, sought after righteousness, and pursued perfection, you don’t comprehend the depth of grace. It wasn’t until I realized how desperately I needed it, that I fully appreciated it.

Worn weary by perfection, fearful of failure, and questioning my identity in Christ, I came face to face with a variety of grace I hadn’t known before. There was no doubting its existence, but grace-experienced is so much more powerful than grace-taught.

When grace becomes heart knowledge rather than simply head knowledge, we are truly transformed. We become practitioners of grace – we seek it, receive it, and if it does its full work in us, we extend it willingly.

Perhaps that’s why I feel so compelled to defend it.

Grace has a story to tell. It’s purpose is to blot out the debt we cannot pay, to be a balm to a broken soul, to push us toward the God Who gives it lavishly when we need it desperately.

But grace is not blind.

The path that drives us to a God of grace can be rocky, devastating, debilitating even. There are consequences that pour forth from our forgiven choices. And as gracious as our God is, He cannot undo what free will has let loose in our life.

There is a rampant epidemic of entitlement within the church.

I see it as a woman, a wife, a parent. The portion of our body that believes it can pursue sin and claim grace as respite. That it can walk forward comfortable, luke warm, and grace will stand in the gap. That it can be on the fence, one foot in, one foot out, dabble in this, and grapple with that and grace will forego consequence.

We must tell the whole grace story.

We are under the umbrella of a God of unrelenting love and exceeding forgiveness who is also a God of perfect justice. Consequences, confrontation, discipline, refinement, trial, pain – these all rain down on our lives as a result of our fallen, sinful nature.

Grace doesn’t remove them. Grace makes them possible to endure.

If we only tell one side of the story, we are entitling a generation of believers to a faith that says there is a variety of grace that overrides the consequence of sin. That brand of faith manipulates God’s plan because they will (we will) most certainly endure hardship as a result of choices that oppose God.

We serve a God of order, balance, and wisdom. He supplies us with the full counsel of His word as our guide and direction. He is the final authority on what is good and acceptable–the distributor of the freely given grace that we desperately need.

We are not entitled to grace. It is simply too precious to waste.

{ GRACE } Let’s receive it and neither hoard or deny. Let’s value, not abuse it. Extend and esteem it, not take it for granted. Let’s stand in awe of its amazing work in our lives. Let’s distribute the complete gospel of grace, not just get out of jail free cards.

Let’s tell the whole grace story.

“For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age…These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority.” Titus 2:11-12,15 NIV

** Linking up with the beautiful blogging communities and the friends of my heart, Holley GerthMeredith BernardKristin Hill Taylor, and Jennifer Dukes Lee.

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17 thoughts on “The {Whole} Grace Story

  1. Wow, I so loved reading this and especially resonated with your journey from knowing grace to feeling grace!!! A lot of what you said echoes my story and faith walk , im posting another love post tomorrow birthed out of a very similar truth telling, really surrendering and being overwhelmed with His gift of grace!! Can’t wait to read more of your blog! Hollie

  2. I could hardly read past this line:
    “When grace becomes heart knowledge rather than simply head knowledge, we are truly transformed.”
    Amen and amen! I want to just sit with this for awhile (after I go tweet it first). :) Once we feel grace in our own lives, we’re never the same. I thank God I’ve found it and I don’t want to ever stop talking about it either. And showing it even more (although I still have a long way to go with that!). Thanks, Tiffany.

  3. Tiffany, my story is similar to yours. “White girl walks down the aisle and is washed cleaner than she already was!” I was like that too, but now I realize so much more what a sinner I am, in need ot grace, just like the next person. And yes, we do market and buy into cheap grace in the church today.. Lord, forgive us!

    1. Isn’t it amazing, Betsy…the longer we walk with Him the more clearly we see the desperate need for that saving grace. It’s an incredible thing about the growth of our faith that allows us to see how precious His gift of forgiveness is. Yes, to treasure and stand in awe of our amazing God of grace. Thanks for visiting me. Blessings to you!

  4. Tiffany, what a beautiful post. You touched my heart with your words.

    I struggle with entitlement, and I see my kids fall back into that mindset, even though we’ve tried hard to prevent it. I love the way you described only telling one side of the grace story as encouraging entitlement. I need to remember the price that was paid so I could know God’s grace. And I need to be willing to share it with others.

    Well done, friend.

    1. Thank you, Jeanne. I think it’s a trap will all fall into…especially in this day and age where we are blessed with exceedingly abundantly more. I know with our son, we want him to know the that we have a God of grace that will receive Him with open arms and forgive, but Who also is a God to be revered and honored. Grace isn’t a catch-all to excuse sin. A little healthy fear is a good thing, for them, for us. So glad you visited…always blessed by your comments and encouragement.

  5. Thank you, again for you beautifully written words. It is through God’s grace that we get by here on earth.. Through the struggles we grow stronger knowing that God’s love and grace are always there. How could we manage without?

  6. Beautifully written, I really like your style and perspective. I appreciate your words “we will most certainly endure hardship as a result of choices that oppose God.” Sometimes we only talk about the spiritual good stuff and fail to recognize that just as God is all loving and merciful, we are accountable for our sins. It opens up our eyes to what’s at stake and should be valued. Thanks!

    1. The “spiritual good stuff” is so much more appealing, isn’t it, Stacy?! The consequences can be scary, but we are so blessed to stand before a God who extends grace, even in His discipline and refinement. This is certainly something to be valued. So glad you stopped by – your encouraging words are always such a blessing. :)

  7. YES! “When grace becomes heart knowledge rather than simply head knowledge, we are truly transformed.” —> I’ve been experiencing some of this recently. It’s freeing. Thanks for your words here, Tiffany! And for linking up at #ThreeWordWednesday.

  8. Tiffany, you really hit it out of the park with this one. Yes, we do live in a period of rampant entitlement within the church. I see it all the time and have fallen into it myself at times. But everything God gives us is grace, truly. Amen, friend. Let’s tell the whole story and not make it about us, but Jesus.

    1. Thanks, Abby. It’s a trap I’ve fallen into as well. Grace is such a generous gift we sometimes see it as a catch-all. You are so right – whether it’s blessing or discipline, God’s hand always brings grace. Thanks for stopping by, friend.

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