Economists say, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” Nothing in this world comes for free. Even when we don’t pay and a friend picks up our meal, someone is still paying for it.
Grace works the same way. Now, before you say that I’m wrong because grace is free, don’t forget that grace was not free. It was costly. It cost God His son, and it cost Jesus His life.
You Can’t Earn What Is Free
What does that mean for us? It means we can’t earn our salvation or buy God’s favor. Jesus paid the penalty for our sin (Ephesians 1:7). Paul tells a church in Ephesus, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8).
Salvation comes by grace through faith. It is not earned through attending church, memorizing your Bible, or avoiding alcohol. No amount of good works will earn God’s favor. God can’t love you any more than He already does. He loves us fully and completely. If we miss this, we’ll spend our entire lives trying to earn something we already have — like that person who searches for their glasses that already sit on top of their head. Instead of joyfully serving such a gracious God, we’ll find ourselves slaves to fear and doubt, spending our time trying to grasp and maintain God’s approval.
Grace Never Runs Away
Sometimes grace is hardest when we’ve messed up big time. When we sin and feel rightful regret because we have hurt the God we love, we want to earn His love back. Like a husband bringing home flowers for his wife to reconcile after a fight, we want to bring God something, anything, that will make us feel worthy of His love again. There is nothing we can bring God to change His disposition toward us. It is not your behavior that merits grace; it’s faith. C. S. Lewis wrote, “The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us.”
Maybe a free lunch and free grace do not exist, but because of God’s great love, He picked up your tab. And through faith, you have been lavished with free grace (Ephesians 1:8).