By Janel Breitenstein
I think you could call me a grace junkie. I am finally willing to admit that I am addicted to grace.
When I first came to Christ, I thought that I would grow out of grace a bit. I knew I needed a flood of it to get in the door, and I’d need a few precise dabs here and there along the way to patch up the pesky perpetual chinks in my spiritual wall of righteousness. But I didn’t realize that I would need it to live and breathe and move. Jesus would reform me and make me better so I didn’t need it as much, right?
I’m embarrassed remembering my silent answer to a Sunday School teacher’s question when I was a senior in high school: “How many times do you sin a day?” I counted, Hunh. Maybe six? Seven? (I was a good kid, I thought.) I was still partially blind to my pervasive sin disease.
Turns out I don’t grow out of grace. I grow more and more into it; more and more in clawing, desperate need of it. Realization dawns on me like a creeping sunrise, illuminating how even the air in my lungs, the thudding of my heart, is all grace.
Thankfully time has turned its light on the spreading disease of sin in my soul. I am infested with sin. My “righteousness” is filthy rags to the Lord.
Yet every time I glimpse the breadth and depth of my desperate condition, I find that grace is still so much more, pouring down the sides, drowning out the darkness, flooding me with light. I crave grace: its freedom, light, and embrace.
You may have heard R.C. Sproul Jr.’s wise words: If the lesson you get from Jesus hanging with sinners is you should hang more with sinners, you’re confused on who you are in the story.
Perhaps this is what the hymn’s author John Newton felt—the former slave trader, realizing that all this time, he himself was the slave. The cuffs of his profession rubbed raw his wrists, confining him to his own filth and the despair of his future, of relationships bound for separation, of bondage to a cruel master, of a purpose and future bent and conformed to that master’s whims and wealth.
Can you see what’s so addictive about grace? This week, may grace continue to steadily bind you, addict you, and consume you with God’s goodness and freedom. May you seek grace as if you’ll never get enough!