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Grace, the Doorway to Life

Grace, the Doorway to Life

FEBRUARY 20, 2024

/ Articles / Grace, the Doorway to Life


What happens when I hear that word? To many, that’s all it is—a word. A woman’s name. A characteristic of a particular athlete. Something someone says before a special meal. An act of kindness. We come within the walls of the church and add the word amazing to it when we sing a popular hymn, but is it really amazing? Are we really amazed? Am I?

Too many religious people I’ve met over the years aren’t amazed by grace. There was a time when I wasn’t. The gospel message of God’s grace came into my life, but instead of letting it capture and transform me, I yawned. I kept grace at arm’s length, turning it into a sort of spiritual souvenir while inserting it into my religious vocabulary collection. I then would pull it out from time to time when I needed a nice-sounding but nevertheless vague spiritual word.

Real grace doesn’t play that spiritual game. The five letters of grace might settle onto the shelf of my religious alphabet collection, but the liberating truth behind those five letters doesn’t follow. Instead, real grace heads where real humans are yearning to be really loved and fulfilled by a real God while doing real life.


When I finally realized my low-octane level of appreciation and engagement with grace in my life—that I really wasn’t amazed—I started digging. I realized I had barely begun to understand grace. Consequently, I had never really experienced it on a daily basis.

Grace was a word to me but not a way of life. I knew its spelling but not its meaning. I was familiar with its sound but not its taste.

I finally had to discover that, bottom line, grace is God lovingly giving me what I need instead of what I deserve. It’s God lavishly giving me what I long for but not necessarily all that I think I want.

“Lavish.” It’s not a descriptor you often hear when it comes to grace. Especially God’s grace. But Scripture uses just that word. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians tells us that God has chosen to adopt us back into his family and that results in us living for “the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding” (Ephesians 1:6-8).

Lavish is a unique and powerful verb used to describe what God does in grace toward us. The Greek word that’s translated into “lavish” (perisseúõ) is a word packed with stunning overtones.

It appears several times in the New Testament in descriptions of God’s grace. It invokes concepts such as abundance and even superabundance, more-than-enough excessiveness, and overflowing extravagance.

God doesn’t grudgingly dole out the minimum amount of grace toward you and me. He lavishes us with it.

To many of us, lavish might imply an “extra” that’s a nicety but not a necessity. Yet grace is simultaneously an overwhelming nicety and also an absolute necessity. It’s necessary because my resistance and rebelliousness toward God’s Life-giving leadership is pervasive, touching every aspect of my journey. I might rebel publicly or privately, legally or illegally, in socially acceptable or antisocial ways—but at the end of the day, it’s all rebellion.

Because of my rejection of his rule, I fully deserve to experience the loss-of-Life consequences of being separated from God. However, he has opted for a different view of me than one of justly sentencing me to being distanced from him in a manner I deserve. Out of love for me, he comes toward me, wanting to restore me to the Life he made me for. So, he offers to graciously give me what I need. And more. Much more.

Lavishly so.

Adapted from Matt’s book, Life with a Capital L: Embracing Your God-Given Humanity.

Matt Heard

Matt Heard

Matt Heard is a speaker, teacher, writer, pastor, coach, and the Founder and Principal of a ministry called THRIVE. Matt has also served as Lead Pastor at Northland Church in Orlando, President of The Gathering USA, and Senior Pastor of Woodmen Valley Chapel in Colorado Springs. He is also the author of Life With A Capital L: Embracing Your God-Given Humanity.

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