Grace is a tricky concept.
In junior high I was taught the acronym God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense to explain grace. And though I got it, I didn’t really. I knew I needed something beyond me. Though on the outside I may have been all “whatever” towards a parent or a sister; on the inside I felt slimy when I rude with my words or selfish with my actions.
Sure, I often felt justified. If only I did’t live with such imbeciles I wouldn’t be pushed to the edge. But deep down, I knew they weren’t imbeciles.
How could God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense help me be more loving or less selfish? Considering that Jesus was one of the clearest teachers who cut right to the heart of a lesson, I can’t imagine him using an acronym on a important concept.
Instead I think Jesus might use a baking lesson.
My friend was making a layer cake for her sister-in-law’s birthday and the top lay broke into pieces. Kind of like my words or actions falling apart right before me and I don’t know what to do. This is what grace does with our brokenness:
Grace is like a broken layered birthday cake. Grace does the messy work of placing the broken pieces back where they need to be and then holding them in place with frosting. Slowly, with each pass of the knife the holding the pieces in place become easier. To a certain extent the brokenness still exists. Grace isn’t a magic wand, after all. Grace is a redeeming act of love that covers the brokenness until the pieces aren’t seen, the cake is.
Christ’s sacrifice may have been once and done. But like a bowl of frosting, it is in the spreading of the frosting that turns plain cake into an offering for celebration.
Grace may be an acronym about God’s riches, but for me, grace is like frosting, holding the pieces together. It covers me.