Relient K Is Right About The Beauty Of Grace

I’m old. I listened to Relient K a lot in my youth. I recently started to check out some albums again in this the year of our Lord two thousand and twenty-one.

“Be My Escape” is a classic Relient K lyrical prayer. There are a couple of surprising lines that I can’t help but to highlight here.

I’ve given up on doing this alone now

Cause I’ve failed and I’m ready to be shown how

You told me the way and I’m trying to get there

And this life sentence that I’m serving

I admit that I’m every bit deserving

But the beauty of grace is that it makes life not fair

. . .

I fought you for so long I should have let you win

Oh how we regret those things we do

And all I was trying to do was save my own skin

Oh-o, but so were you

So were you

Relient K Presbyterian Christian Rock

“The beauty of grace is that it makes life not fair” might be the most unintentionally Presbyterian lyric I’ve ever heard. Upon a quick search, I noticed that many people have written about this lyric over the last 15+ years, including Tim Challies in 2005. Interestingly, I think he missed the point of this insightful quip. Challies argued that grace is indeed unmerited, but not “not fair” because “not fair” implies something deficient in God’s free gift.

As I see it, Relient K is saying that grace makes life not fair, not that grace itself is deficient. Life is not fair in the sense that we, meaning all of humanity, do not receive what our deeds deserve. More than that, we benefit from providence working in creation and providing the sun and the rain for our good.

Any good Presbyterian will tell you that all men descending from Adam by ordinary generation are marred by Adam’s sin and their own. Even the pagan realizes that humans have need of the gods for their salvation.

God’s sons are spared from the eternal consequences of sin, what a beautiful and not fair life we have. We deserve the curse, but we receive the blessing. We wander from the fold and should be lost in our folly, but the shepherd knows his sheep and will find us.

The beauty of grace is that it makes life not fair.

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