As ministers of the gospel of the grace of God, it is imperative that we be gracious toward others. What does it mean to be gracious?
Many have the idea that to be gracious is to be nice or polite towards others, but that is not grace that is social obligation.
Others think that grace is merely withholding judgment (“don’t judge”), condemnation, or punishment, but this is simply showing mercy.
Not giving someone what they deserve is mercy. Mercy is good, but it is not grace. Grace is giving blessing to people who have not earned or deserved it.
Whereas mercy will pardon the sinner, grace gives the sinner a blessing. Why would the sinner get a blessing? It certainly would not be for his sin. It would certainly not be something he was entitled to or deserved. It would be because of grace.
Judging a person unworthy of God’s grace is a corruption of grace. Requiring someone earn our grace toward them destroys grace. This person is either ignorant or incompetent to minister God’s grace.
Grace does not obligate others; grace gives without requirement.
Grace does not expect reciprocation; grace gives without expecting payment.
Grace is never a response; grace takes initiative.
Grace cannot be forced; it can only be purposed in your heart.
Here is a Pauline example of showing grace:
“I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.” – 2 Corinthians 12:15
This is exactly what God did when he gave us grace through Jesus Christ. God was not obligated to do anything for us in our sinful condition. We certainly did not deserve it. Our salvation is not earned by any good work or thought we have.
While we were yet sinners, God not only withheld judgment (mercy), but he poured out the riches of his grace through Christ dying for our sins (Rom 5:8).
When grace sees a sinner it thinks, “That person needs help. How can I help through Christ.” It does not think, “That person needs judgment,” or, “That person needs punished.” If your first thought is toward the latter, especially toward a brother or sister in Christ, then you are not exhibiting grace.
Being gracious toward others requires changing our thoughts toward sinners to redeem them by grace as we were saved for Christ’s sake.
It is possible to receive grace from God, be saved by grace, and be the least gracious person on the planet. For shame many recipients of grace are ungracious toward others. What a horrible thing!
If you have received it, why would you not give it?
We should not receive the grace of God in vain (2 Cor 6:1). If we have received grace from God, we must preach and practice it toward others for Christ’s sake.