Wonderful Grace of Jesus
Hymn request night services were a highlight of my childhood. There were always beloved hymns which people would request each time, and one of my favorites to hear sung was our title hymn, Wonderful Grace of Jesus. The congregation always sang it so enthusiastically, especially the chorus. But as fun as the song is to sing, its words are even richer and more stirring.
How great is the grace of God? Well, that sort of depends. Depends? It doesn’t depend in a real sense, but it does depend in our perception of it, and our perception will vary in proportion to how we view our sin. Jesus said, “He who is forgiven much, loves much.” He made that comment because a woman He had forgiven had broken a costly vial of fragrant oils and poured it on Him, worshiping and weeping, while His host for the evening had not even provided Jesus with the common courtesy of water to wash His feet when He arrived or the kiss of greeting. Jesus said the difference in their treatment of Him was due to the perception each person had of the depth of their own sin. The woman’s sin was different, but not greater. The man’s spiritual pride had merely blinded him to the extent of his own personal sin, thus he didn’t greet Jesus with the enthusiasm and worship displayed by the woman. She understood to the very fiber of her being the Wonderful Grace of Jesus.
Likewise, the wonder with which we encounter the grace of Jesus will be proportionate to our own understanding of the depth of our personal sinfulness, the desperate state we were in before He saved us, and the amazing reality that we have been fully forgiven, redeemed, and enfolded by the rich and undeserved grace of Jesus. Only when we have embraced the truth that we were indeed “the most defiled,” but have been mercifully transformed into “God’s dear child” will we be fundamentally moved by the Wonderful Grace of Jesus.
Some of us have never really fathomed the peril we were in, especially if we were brought up in believing homes where we were held to a standard of righteous conduct externally even before we were saved, at which point the standard transferred to an internal governor of our behavior. Our conduct might not have radically changed by virtue of our salvation, so if we equate a sinful state merely with behavior, we may not think we were really that bad off. We could see ourselves as an “easy save,” thus not in need of as much grace as a junkie on skid row or a gal on the street corner in a red light district. But given what Jesus had to say to those squeaky clean religious leaders of His day, perhaps our perceptions need some fine tuning. Salvation for those from religious backgrounds is no less a miracle, no less a case of going from death to life than those snatched out of the dregs. Everyone—EVERYONE—is depraved, is an enemy of God, is headed for destruction and wrath until they are saved by God’s wonderful grace. If we have lost sight of this, we need to be renewed in the wonder that He would even want to save us, and that He has. We must never become like that Pharisee who proudly prayed, “Thank you that I’m not like him” (looking at a tax collector praying nearby). We must always come to Him, while grateful for His grace, still humble like the tax collector, acknowledging our need for the mercy of God each day.
This wonderful grace of Jesus has set us free from the burden of sin. It breaks the chains of the things which keep us bound, whether those are addictions, or fears, or insecurities, or besetting sins, or pride, or indifference—O the Wonderful Grace of Jesus reaches me! It reaches all who will humbly receive it.
His grace purchases peace and heaven for all eternity. It does so by giving us first peace with God. No longer are we enemies of God, instead this grace make us friends, beloved children, even His Bride. Grace means this is not our doing but His. We don’t have to strive after it, earn it, or find some way to appease an angry Deity. He offers this grace freely if we only will accept and apply it!
And His grace offers us the peace of God. Grace reminds us of His incomparable and incomprehensible love for us. It is a love that has given so much of itself when we were yet sinners, so will not withhold any good thing for us now. We can have the peace of God no matter what storms come our way, because we know He has promised to never leave us nor forsake us. All this and so much more is ours because of the Wonderful Grace of Jesus.
Wonderful the matchless grace of Jesus, deeper than the mighty rolling sea; wonderful grace, all sufficient for me. Broader than the scope of my transgression, greater far than all my sin and shame, O magnify the precious name of Jesus, praise His name! There are no truer words to express our reasons to worship Jesus for His Wonderful Grace.