“The servant fell on his knees before him.’Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go…His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’ “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt…In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed (Matthew 18:26-27, 29-30, 34).”Every Christian will talk about the grace of God, but how many Christians can truly say they know what it is and are experiencing it? There is the standard response of grace being God’s “unmerited favor.” Others will make it a catchy acronym; “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.” Some will wrongly say that grace is what we fall back on when we “fall short of being obedient to God’s commands.” However, I have always said that people will treat others the way in which they believe God is treating them. People want grace for their sins, but they want justice when someone sins against them. This usually comes from believing that God is still dealing with them on the basis of their sins. If you want to measure the maturity of a Christian, don’t measure it by how long they have been a Christian. Do not measure it by how many Bible verses they have memorized. Do not measure it by their status in the church; pastor, teacher, author, deacon, etc. Do not measure it by how many blessings they say they’ve received from God. You measure a Christian’s maturity by their understanding of the forgiveness of God. That is when you know they understand God’s grace. In the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant you see where the servant was forgiven of his debt, but didn’t forgive his fellow servant of the debt he owed. Thus, the servant’s master reinstated the debt he owed and sent him to be tortured. This is an exact picture of what I mentioned earlier where Christians want God’s grace, but won’t share that grace with others. The great thing is that God won’t get angry with us and “turn us over to the jailer to be tortured” and He won’t demand we “pay back all we owed.” That is the grace of God; knowing you owe a debt you can’t pay, thus you forgive those of the debts they owe you. We know this! We hear it taught by pastors! Yet, for the majority of Christians, including those pastors, they will nullify this truth by teaching that God will not forgive them if they don’t forgive others! This is a total misunderstanding of the New Covenant ushered in by Jesus Christ when He died on the cross. The incredible thing about grace is not only that God is not counting our sins against us, but that He doesn’t reinstate our sins when we count the sins of others against them. How many Christians desiring to hold the sins of others against them don’t even realize that they are guilty of being like the unmerciful servant when they do that, but because of God’s grace and complete forgiveness, they won’t be “sent to the jailer”? The author of Hebrews said, “Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace (Hebrews 10:28-29)?” Under the law it says we died without mercy. Yet, under grace there is mercy. Notice how it says “How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished…” It says you “deserve” to be punished for your failure to realize God’s mercy by taking away your sins in Christ. However, you will not get what you deserve because of God’s grace. When you realize that you will begin to mature in your faith. This happens because with the sin barrier between you and God removed, you can now freely approach God to receive His unconditional love, complete forgiveness and total acceptance He created you to have. In turn, as you receive His grace and mercy, you will then begin to share that which you have received with those around you. God calls this the “fruit of the Spirit.” You receive God’s grace and He produces His grace in and through you. The bottom line is that you get to know your God because the fear that He will hold your sins against you starts to diminish and at the same time your desire to have the debts others owe you will begin to diminish as well. You will then know what grace is because you are living it!