When a person receives a fair day’s pay for his or her time, that is a “wage.”
When a person competes with an opponent and receives a trophy for his or her performance, that is a “prize.”
When a person receives appropriate recognition for his or her long service or high achievements, that is an “award.”
But when a person is not capable of earning a wage, can win no prize, and deserves no award (yet receives such a gift anyway), that is a good picture of God’s unmerited favor.
The inspired apostle Paul wrote: But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ by grace you have been saved and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:4-10).
God’s grace is something we do not deserve (merit) and we do not win by performance (achievement). Do we ever fall into Satan’s trap and start thinking that I am deserving of God’s grace but that poor slob over there is not? No one deserves God’s grace! Receiving God’s grace is given to change us and transform us. The recipients of God’s grace are not left in the shabby old condition that they were found in. The grace of God is not simply a saving agent, but it is also an empowering agent. One of my very favorite Bible verses is 1 Corinthians 15:10, “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.” The grace of God did not leave Paul alone. If we are not changed by God’s grace, then God’s grace “proves vain.”
What is the grace of God doing in your life?