Of Grit and Grace
n the opening segment of the 2011 remake of the classic movie True
Grit, which originally starred John Wayne, there is a pleasant
surprise in the narration. As the woman reflects back on the murder
of her father she reminds the audience “You must pay for everything in
this world one way or another. There is nothing free, except the
grace of God.”
As I think how God must have orchestrated getting that by the
Hollywood censorship folks it occurs to me that Satan has not yet won;
the Holy Spirit of God still moves, though subtly at times; and
depraved people do recognize the basic need of man to know God is
gracious, and it sometimes helps sell movies.
While I still hesitate to recommend True Grit due to some language and
subject matter, it is cleaner than most Hollywood products. I can
often forgive the raw honesty people put in to their stories if the
message of grace comes through strong and clear. Les Miserable’s is
another such movie; and a little flick called Simon Birch shares more
youthful lust than I am comfortable with but the grace covers the sin
and leaves a message of faith ringing in your ears long after the
Is this sufficient in real life to recognize the grace of God long
before the repentance has begun? Maybe, maybe not…I don’t know; but
one thing I do know, repentance makes no sense without grace.
Grace started it all. The promise of forgiveness is the only light
leading out of depravity.
Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while
we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
The Evangelist Paul Washer tells a story of going to lunch with a
group of men from a Church he visited and spoke at. When they sat
down at the restaurant Washer put his Bible next to his plate. The
unorthodox young man who waited on them said excitedly, “Dude! You
got a Bible! Man, I got one of those too!” and proceeded to describe
sorted details of his former life that made the “good men” of the
church cringe. The Evangelist was able to remind the misguided laymen
at the table that the starting point for grace is different for some.
Sometimes you have to know how far someone has come to recognize the
work of grace. Though the young man had far to go God was working in
this life and regenerating him.
If I never grow, in this life, to reach beyond where you began, am I
less a product of the grace of Jesus Christ? James said “faith
without works is dead”, but do MY works have to equal YOUR works for
my faith to be alive?
I’m not saying it’s that simple, but I AM saying I don’t know. I
don’t know if you’ve changed enough; if your faith is strong enough –
but if my own weakness will not be covered by grace why do I continue
to repent? Why does my shame humble me and my sin bring me to my
knees day after day? Grace must be sufficient, after all, isn’t that
what faith is all about?
There is a joy and an unexplainable peace that comes over me when I
get to talking about grace with someone who knows its worth. I know
not how much Christ paid for me; I doubt I could count the cost. But
I know He didn’t do it so I would be good, He did it so one day I
COULD be good.
Grace is not the down payment on your life; it’s a “cash out” – lump
sum – “It is finished” deal; providing you have the faith to receive
it. If sin breaks your heart, HALILUAH, grace will put it back
together again. When you find you LIKE obeying Jesus I’d say you may
know what grace means! And when you recognize how very much you need
it you appreciate that it is free.