Grace is not the same as being nice

As a pastor, I am constantly demonized for not having grace. For example, when I explained to people at the church a few years ago that God’s Word says that women should not teach men in the church; the teaching office is reserved for men. A few people said “that might be true but you should have grace.” Is that really how the word “grace” is meant to be used?

If that is your definition of “grace” you are defining “grace” as “let people disobey God.” How does Scripture define “grace”? When John says “grace and truth came through Jesus Christ”, did he mean “the willingness to let people sin and truth came through Jesus Christ”? Or when Paul says “it is by grace you have been saved, through faith” did he mean “it is by God letting you sin that you have been saved, through faith”?

Grace is more like Ephesians 4.32: be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ forgave you. I’m forgiven, so I will forgive others. I’m a sinner, so I will love other sinners. I sinned against God, and He loved me, so I will love those who sin against me. And at the same time, “the grace of God…trains us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions” (Titus 2.11-12). The grace of God does not let me keep being disobedient, but helps me out of it. God does not show grace to me by simply being nice to me, but by dealing with my sin on the cross and really loving me fully.


3 responses to “Grace is not the same as being nice

  1. Amen!

  2. I’ve been intrigued lately with the suggestion by some that grace is essentially one-way love. That is, it is entirely unmerited by the object and reflects the beauty and generosity of the giver of that love.

    I wonder if in Titus 2:11-12, the way grace trains us to renounce ungodliness isn’t by “empowering” us to stop doing ungodly thing, but rather by letting us experience the grace of God in Christ every time we sin. What I mean is this. When I sin, I deserve death and hell. But God come to me in grace through Christ. As I look at the cross, I see the horror of my sin and richness of God’s grace to conquer it. And in this way, grace trains me, each time I sin, to renounce ungodliness.

    Does that make sense? Hope you’re well brother.

  3. Todd Morikawa

    Doing well, brother! Yeah, I am not sure my understanding of “empower” was or is that different from what you just described there. On a similar note, I wonder if “my grace is sufficient for you” in 2 Corinthians suffering is also not a reference to the past work of Christ. Either way, AMEN to grace being entirely unmerited by the object. I also love Jerry Bridges definition of not just un-merited, but ill-merited. We don’t just not meet the Judge’s standards Who showed grace to us; we committed crimes against the Judge Himself Who showed grace to us!

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