Without grace we are at best gross. Gross with the garbage of sin. Gross with failures and filth. Gross with the stains of iniquity. Gross with the decomposing flesh of temptations and addictions.
The ugliness of pocked features, leftover markings of a sinful nature, reflects from horror’s waters. We are sinners, born of the dirt of depravity, bound by the instincts of betrayal. Our beauty is deceptive; for the same face that may glow with perfection in symmetry, amaze onlookers with passion, will soon rot with wrinkles, die with swift age, and become the gourmet meal of worms beneath the sod of broken dreams. Yes, we are at best gross without grace.
We gaze upon slimy creature that turn over the soil and crawl upon toxic bellies. They are full of the earth’s decay and bear resemblance to the dead flesh they feast on. We heave at the thought of maggots teeming the moldy remains of discarded trash; and the stench of putrefying carcasses laid among buzzing flies in the forest brings quick distaste, and often the ruining of our appetites. Yet in reality, without grace, we are the maggots, mere larva of lust, feeding on the dead flesh of greed and sensuality. We think ourselves a higher order, but without the graceful intervention of a loving God we are simply worms crawling about in the mud-infested domains of pride and lust.
We call ourselves graceful when we accomplish some human feat, break a historical record, or invent some technological wonder that reshapes daily life. But in reality, without the grace of God, our creative prowess is nothing more than secondary Divine nature at work in the sandboxes of finite skill. We build our sandcastles. We construct our religious notions. And when all is said and done, all is done. For everything we build is destined for ashen remnants in the fires of renovation. So what good are we without the grace of God? If He no longer favored us as His prized creation, would we truly become self-existent; could we bridge the gap between death and eternal life; could we hope in something more than the temporal comforts of a material world?
Without the grace of God we are the walking dead, a human race mindlessly walking in a trance, rendered powerless as wanderers in a land of iniquity. Zombies of rebellion. Grave dwellers of debauchery. Ghastly haunts of hellish deeds. And everything we touch decays in time; in takes on our sinful likeness, our destructive tendencies.
If I entered your house smeared in horse manure would you think me gross? If I walked around town with stolen grave clothes on, bearing the stench of corpses, would you think me gross? We need the Grace of God to deliver us from the things, thoughts, trials, and traps that makes us gross.
24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. KJV