By Curtis Shelburne: Religion columnist
So . . . “what’s so amazing about grace?”
The whole universe is not large enough to contain the wonderful answer, but maybe part of the answer is found in comparing grace and what has been called “ungrace,” grace’s ugly opposite.
Ungrace says, “You are what you produce.” Grace says, “You are what God has produced.”
Ungrace says, “What you produce is not good enough.” Grace says, “What God has produced is beautiful and you will be amazed at how beautiful it will yet become.”
Ungrace says, “You must keep working to earn God’s love.” Grace says, “You already have God’s love now, completely, and forever.”
Ungrace says, “Look how bad you are.” Grace says, “Look how good is the God who loves you now, completely, and forever.”
Ungrace says, “You don’t measure up.” Grace says, “Through Christ, you do. You absolutely do.”
Ungrace measures. Grace exults.
Ungrace says, “You can never afford the luxury of real peace and contentment and serenity.” Grace says, “Yours is peace beyond comprehension, worth more than gold.”
Ungrace says, “You must always keep working to be sure you’ve done enough — and, by the way, you can never know.” Grace says, “Christ has done enough, far more than enough, and you are Christ’s. Live in him, with peace and joy, and be amazed at the bounty of good works he does in your life.”
Ungrace says, “Work harder to be saved.” Grace says, “Work joyfully because you already are saved.”
Ungrace groans. Grace laughs.
Ungrace says, “Look at yourself. You’re worthless.” Grace says, “Look at God who knows you completely and says, ‘You’re priceless, worth the gift of my son.’”
Ungrace says, “Let’s make some rules for some slaves, pretend we keep the rules, and worship what we call our religion.” Grace says, “Let’s bow gratefully before the God who has made us sons, freed us from subservience to law, and saved us to obey only the Law of Love.”
Ungrace says, “Grovel, slaves, before the stern Taskmaster who can’t wait to damn you when you foul up.” Grace says, “Dance, children, before the God who is your father, whose joy fills and empowers your every step and whose love covers and redeems your every misstep.”
Ungrace looks at those who glory in God’s grace and warns, “You’ll be sorry. Even God can’t forgive somebody like you.” Grace looks at God and sings his praises, “Worthy, worthy, worthy. Worthy is the Lamb who was slain” even as ungrace’s whiny voice is forever obliterated and God’s people from all ages raise their voices in the everlasting and joyful praise of the God of all grace.
Curtis Shelburne is pastor of 16th & Ave. D. Church of Christ in Muleshoe. Contact him at