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Getting Back to Grace

ďGod saved you by his grace when you believed. And you canít take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.Ē1


Charles Stanley wrote the following article that illustrates the concept of grace so well.

ďOne of my more memorable seminary professors had a practical way of illustrating to his students the concept of grace. At the end of his evangelism course, he would distribute the exam with the caution to read it all the way through before beginning to answer it. This caution was written on the exam as well. As we read the test, it became unquestionably clear to each of us that we had not studied nearly enough.

The further we read, the worse it became. About halfway through, audible groans could be heard throughout the lecture hall. On the last page, however, was a note that read, "You have a choice. You can either complete the exam as given or sign your name at the bottom and in so doing receive an A for this assignment."

Wow? We sat there stunned. "Was he serious? Just sign it and get an A?" Slowly, the point dawned on us, and one by one we turned in our tests and silently filed out of the room.

When I talked with the professor about it afterward, he shared some of the reactions he had received through the years. Some students began to take the exam without reading it all the way through, and they would sweat it out for the entire two hours of class time before reaching the last page.

Others read the first two pages, became angry, turned the test in blank, and stormed out of the room without signing it. They never realized what was available, and as a result, they lost out totally.

One fellow, however, read the entire test, including the note at the end, but decided to take the exam anyway. He did not want any gifts; he wanted to earn his grade. And he did. He made a C+, but he could easily have had an A.

This story illustrates many peopleís reaction to Godís solution to sin. Some people look at Godís standard--moral and ethical perfection--and throw their hands up in surrender. Why even try? they tell themselves. I could never live up to all that stuff.

Others are like the student who read the test through and was aware of the professorís offer but took the test anyway. Unwilling to simply receive Godís gift of forgiveness, they set about to rack up enough points with God to earn it.

But Godís grace truly is like the professorís offer. It may seem unbelievable, but if we accept it, then, like the stunned students who accepted the professorís offer, we, too, will discover that, yes, Godís grace truly is free. All we must do is accept it.Ē


Many times, it is just as hard to give grace, as it is to receive it. What we often forget, is that we did nothing to earn Godís grace. It is a gift he chose to give us even though we would never be able to repay it. But we can only receive this grace when we choose to lay our pride aside and accept it. Have you accepted Godís grace in your life?


Suggested prayer: Dear God, I havenít done anything to deserve your great grace, yet you offer it to me freely. I will never be able to thank you enough, but I choose to lay aside my pride and accept your grace and ask that you would help me be quick to offer grace to others as well. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. In Jesusí name, amen.


  1. Ephesians 2:8-9 (NLT).


Today's Encounter was written by: Crystal B.

All articles on this website are written by
Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise stated.