The Gift of Grace | Devotion #1: Age of Accountability
Roger Allen | Recovery Director
At the age of fifteen, I stood in a small clearing in the middle of the woods looking skyward. I desperately needed an answer to my question, “Is God real?” This question had burned in me for some time. Deep down I knew He existed, but those around me seemed to think otherwise. Struggling with a lack of faith in His knowledge He had imparted in me, I did the only thing I could think of, I challenged Him. Not knowing what the cost could be, I asked God to prove His existence. Shaking my fist in the air, I asked Him to strike me down to prove He was real. There was nothing but silence.
Sadly, this story is true. It would not be the last time I would challenge God’s authority, but it may have been the first. It truly was my “age of accountability.” I could no longer behave as if I were innocent. I continued to go to all the wrong places for the answers, yet I found nothing. It would be more than thirty years before I received the answer for which I was searching. He showed me how He had worked upstream in my life long before I was born. It was a truly unmerited favor.
Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
As we see, nothing we can do will produce the results we are looking for without the “gift of God” in our lives. It is by grace we are saved, and it is because of grace we have faith. Often times this can create a struggle within the believer and will always cause strife within those who do not believe. To understand that God is the giver of all including His grace in our lives, can be a difficult one. We would like to take credit so we can lift ourselves above others. Yet, the Bible makes it very clear in Romans 9:14-16 of Who is in charge, “What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! For he says to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.’ So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.”
This is the sovereign choice of God to impart mercy on whom He will. Our finite minds cannot comprehend the infinite wisdom of God. In fact, in Job chapter 38, God has a great conversation with Job about his ignorance and folly. We would do well to learn from the text, knowing apart from God’s tender mercies and grace, we are nothing.