Here's a link to a video I created for last Sunday's family service. We were thinking about the subject of Amazing Grace - in the light of the new film. If you have Windows Media Player (or any other player that can read wmv files), Click Here (Please be patient - its a 1.5mg file, and will take a little while to download...depending on the speed of your connection!)
Grace can be defined as "Being given what we don't deserve" - whereas Mercy can be defined as "NOT being given what we DO deserve". Both are important concepts to get our heads around when we think about how God interacts with us.
On Sunday, I tried to explain those ideas like this...see if it makes sense to you:
1) God is perfect. Absolutely perfect. By definition.
2) Anything that we do, or anything we think, which is less than the perfection of God, can be described as sin. (For example - are you feeling a little lazy, or a little greedy, or a little self-centred today? God is never lazy, or greedy, or self-centered. Never.)
3) Being perfect, God cannot be in the presence of non-perfection. If we were to be absorbed into God while in our imperfect form, that would dilute the perfection of God - he would no longer be God. Sin therefore gets in the way of us being able to exist with God. One way that the Bible talks about this is to say that God is angry at sin. (Angry, in the sense of an implacable opposition to it).
4) So we have a problem. And we, being imperfect, can do nothing about it.
5) But God is merciful - and does not punish us as we deserve...especially for our deliberate and willful sins.
6) And God is full of grace; reaching out across the barrier of sin, and dealing with it Himself, through Jesus.
That's what the former Slave Trader John Newton's famous hymn is all about. He recognised God's amazing grace, in being prepared to reach out to (or in his words 'save') a wretch like him (and me, and, I suggest you!).
Hopefully, that helps you to get your head around the doctrine of Grace - and to understand the video. Let me know if I'm right!