God’s grace is radical. God’s grace is so radical that it doesn’t just change the rules; it does away with the rules entirely. God’s grace creates a fundamental change in the way we relate to God. It rewrites the book on religion and the whole idea of pleasing God. The idea behind religion is to find out what God wants and try and do it to the best of our ability. Whether it’s crawling, or confessing, or obeying, or memorizing, or chanting, or meditating, or sacrificing, or flagellating oneself, none of it means anything in light of God’s grace, because God’s grace does not take into account anything from us. That’s what makes it so hard on one hand and so easy on another. Hard, because we can’t do anything to get to Him, and easy, because He has already done everything to get to us.
This is why “religious” people don’t like the grace of God because they have to do something. They can’t just accept a free, unearned gift, because then they can’t take any credit for it, and if they can’t take any credit for it, then they can’t judge anyone who didn’t, and what fun is that? There’s no pride in that. There’s no caste system, no levels of Nirvana, no spiritual pecking order. If they accept God’s grace as a free gift, then they have to take their place along with the lowest of the low, because grace puts everybody on the same level. We’re all on the bottom, and He lifts us all to the top, and no one can take any credit for their seat at the table because they just showed up for the banquet and found their name tag, and sat down, and are pretty clueless about anything else, except that they can’t believe their good fortune.
And this is why Grace Turned Outward is nothing we achieve; rather, it’s a sign that the grace we received is really God’s grace. Because once you receive something so wonderful and so entirely unearned and undeserved, well, you quite simply want everyone else to have it, too. Grace Turned Outward is evidence of Grace Taken Inward. It bubbles over, like the woman at the well who ran back and brought the whole town out to meet Jesus because He knew everything she’d ever done and still accepted her. She definitely got the grace of God. No kidding.