As we legged it down the platform towards our train home we were stopped by a man in red. The ticket inspector. He scrutinized our tickets one by one. He let one through and then stopped with my friend and I and uttered the dreaded words ‘I’m sorry, this ticket is not valid,’
‘What? Why not?’ We asked.
‘You need a new ticket,’ he replied.
‘But we have a ticket!’
‘You’ve bought the wrong ticket for this train,’
‘Well can we pay the difference for a new ticket? We honestly didn’t know we had the wrong ticket.’
‘I’m sorry you need a new ticket, you need to go and see customer services,’
‘But my tickets already been checked! I can’t leave without my friends, you’ve drawn on it too so it won’t be valid on another journey!’ Piped up mum.
We stared for a moment all three of us, with a mixture of puppy dog eyes and concealed annoyance. Then just before one of us exploded he said:
‘Okay, so obviously I’m getting the impression that this is a genuine mistake and you didn’t know.’
‘We didn’t know! And now we have to get a new ticket!!’
‘Wait,’ he said calmly, ‘I wasn’t finished. It’s a genuine mistake so this time I’ll let you go, but you need to make sure you have the right ticket next time!’
With that we flung ourselves at him and hugged him, while he reeled we legged it to the train and hopped on. We weren’t missing our trip home after all.
In a way this is an example of grace in our everyday life – getting something we didn’t deserve, for free, no strings. In reality the guy checking our ticket was quite right, we had the wrong tickets, whether it was a mistake or not, we were in the wrong.
But instead of making us face the consequences of a fine or buying a new ticket he let us through the barrier onto our train home. Just this once.
This, was grace in action.
However, when we talk about the Grace God gives us, capital G-Grace, we’ve been given so much more than a one-off free pass. We’ve been forgiven once and for all for every bad thing we’ve ever done or ever likely to do, ever. We’ve been given a restored relationship with God because instead of us getting the death we deserved, as a consequence of our sin, his son Jesus Christ, took the fall for us. He went to the cross so that we didn’t have to face the punishment for our sin.
This is capital G – Grace, receiving something we could never repay, a gift of love we could never define or comprehend, something so great we will never truly understand it’s magnitude.
Thank you – is such a puny word for the capital G-Grace Jesus has given us. But some days it’s the only word we have. I’ll be forever thankful for his love, mercy and Grace.
Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.