Tuesday, May 29, 2012


This sign is in the entrance of the parking garage where I park for work.

It is a familiar verse in the Bible that reads "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith —and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. "  {Ephesians 2:8-9} What exactly is grace, though?  What does it mean that we've been "saved by grace"?  

This sign in my parking garage made me revisit in my mind the foundation of what my faith--and that of all Christian believers--is built on.  Grace.  This sign is a beautiful representation of what God has given to us through Jesus Christ.  As you can see, this sign lists out all sorts of prices.  If you're in the parking garage for 3+ hours, you pay $12.00.  If you are in the garage between 2 hours and one minute and 3 hours, you pay $9.00 and so on.  You then see at the top of the sign that if you are in the parking garage for anywhere between zero (meaning, you just drive in and drive right back out) and 10 minutes, you have what they call "grace."  The sign shows us that the use of the garage comes at a cost.  But for the first 10 minutes, they are essentially saying that even though you drive in, they will give you a gift--they will allow you to not pay what you would otherwise owe.  They will give you "grace."  

Now, obviously this is not a perfect analogy, but the symbolism is beautiful.  You choose to do something that comes at a cost {drive into a garage that you don't own}.  But even though you owe this cost, by choosing to leave, you get grace--you don't have to pay.  The owner of the garage essentially pays that cost for you.  You have done nothing to earn this gift--you still drove into the garage like everyone else--the owner is just doing something nice for you.  This is very much like becoming a Christian.  We are sinful.  We do things that make God sad--things that He has told us not to do.  And those things come at a cost.  The cost is being separated from God and not getting to enjoy the fullness of life that He can give us.  But if we choose to leave that life, rather than stay in it, God will give us grace.  We no longer have to pay.  He, through Jesus Christ, pays that cost for us and we get to live with Him. We can't do anything to earn it {we drove into the garage--we chose to sin} but He loves us and has paid the cost for us if we just choose to "drive out" {repent and accept Jesus}.  

Like I said before, even though this isn't a perfect analogy, I just love it when things I see in everyday life make me stop and think about God's goodness and what his sacrifice of Jesus means.  I hope that if you haven't accepted Christ, you'll think about how neat of a concept it is that someone would be willing to pay your costs for you so that you can live for eternity with someone who created you, who loves you more than you can ever understand and who wants to give you an inheritance that you could never even fathom.  If you're already a believer, I hope that you will make an effort to remember everyday how special the gift is that we've been given.  

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