Grace is getting what we don’t deserve; mercy is not getting what we do deserve.
It is fitting to start the New Year with a book about grace. We all know that remarkable relief when we know we are wrong and yet don’t get into trouble for it. It is so easy to see “ungrace” when grace is absent, and so wonderful when it is present. It’s like when you accidentally break that vase in your mother’s house and instead of the wrath or disappointment you were expecting, she says something like “oh, I always secretly hated that old thing!” Grace is profound and truly amazing. It is so comforting to know that God is full of grace and unconditional love. “There is nothing we can do to make God love us more. There is nothing we can do to make God love us less.”
Though not new, ‘What’s so Amazing about Grace’ is one of the few books that I re-read every few years. In all of his books, what Yancey brings to the reader is profound thinking in a highly readable style. Through stories Yancey not so much defines, as gives us a sense of grace and ungrace. Rather than being known for what they are against, imagine Christians being known for bringing the transformative power of love and grace to others? I love the quote the publisher put on the flyleaf about this book: “Grace does not excuse sin, says Yancy, but it treasures the sinner. True grace is shocking, scandalous. It shakes our conventions with its insistence on getting close to sinners and touching them with mercy and hope.”