(Grace is a liberating force that frees us from sin but in order to discover it we must first encounter radical sinfulness)
In order to understand grace we need to develop a deep sense and understanding of sin. The nature of sin stems from original sin within Genesis. We were created free with the capacity for moral badness. In order to become good we need to be trained to see what is missing. Those who seek will find. The nature of sin results in personal, cultural and social effects on human beings. The impact of these has an effect on human freedom leading us to become ‘slaves of sin’. If this sin distorts and cripples our freedom, the impact of grace is to heal and strengthen our freedom. The legacy of Augustine leaves us with the idea that grace is a liberating force that removes the weights loading the scales toward evil and allows us to choose God. Grace is seen as the healer of human nature. A profound sense of sin is one of the most liberating things imaginable. We cannot encounter radical mercy of God until we encounter radical sinfulness. God permits evil in order to draw forth some great good.
Genesis explains to us that this evil is not an outside force but within us. The serpent merely suggests it is not the cause of evil and therefore it is solvable. Despite our act of alienation form God we are still God’s creatures. Showing us that within the story of creation and original sin grace persists. However it is important to note that blindness is central to sin. ‘Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing’ (Luke 23:34) When we understand, encounter and accept sin only then can we discover the radical mercy of God.
Throughout the world we encounter great sin within world wars, September 11th 2001 etc. It was grace that brought us safe thus far, and grace will lead us home. And so, it is accurate in saying that “If grace is not experienced then the world has no meaning”. (Haight)