Grace Makes Us What We Are

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me has not been in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them—though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.

1 Cor. 15:10 NRSV

Grace is God’s heart extending itself towards us as God initiates in us the ability to overcome our weaknesses, failures, and inadequacies. Grace is not the freedom to sin, but the freedom not to sin, and that can be painful. Grace makes our flesh scream for grace says, “no,” to ungodly indulgence. Grace digs deep by exposing the idols of our heart: grace reveals sin, convicts of selfishness, and empowers holiness. Grace is painful because grace challenges us to change. Grace refuses to leave us alone. Grace requires, no, demands that we live in obedience to Christ. Grace resists sin, but also lifts us into the presence of God. Grace reveals God to us in all his glory. Grace purges, but also it cleanses, renews, and strengthens.

All human nature vigorously resists grace because grace changes us and the change is painful.

Flannery O’Connor, The Habit of Being: Letters of Flannery O’Connor