When does grace become grace? That sounds like a book title. Last week I said to my son, "Grace is not grace until there is repentance." Then I lay awake through the night pondering that statement. Does God's grace hinge on the work of repentance in the child of God? Does grace toward my children rest conditionally on their turning from wrong toward me, their family, our God or others?
I pictured then the father of the prodigal on the porch night after night. Was he full of grace on the porch each night? Or did his grace spring from the porch only when he saw his son on the horizon? Upon much contemplation, I confess I have much to learn. I must be as that father, my grace and love for all, especially my loved ones, must be extended free from any sign of their turning. Certainly the grace I felt from God when He saved me was not withheld conditional upon my own heart turning in repentance. It is grace that leads to repentance.
The Bible does not teach us that we, in some state of repentance, turn the heart of God toward us. Paul wrote to the Ephesian believers that it is by God’s grace that we are saved and that our salvation has nothing to do with any work that would merit us favorable toward being saved. It is clearly stated that it is God’s grace, His loving kindness that initiates the wayward heart toward any feeling of being sorry, penitent.
I am learning that I need to think before I speak. I need to pause and consider all of the scriptures, the whole counsel of God, before I answer. I need to think on a heavenly level instead of an earthly level.
"Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?" Rom. 2:4