What Can Growing a Beard Teach Us About Grace?


There’s an age-old debate in Christian circles. How can it be that salvation is entirely an act of God’s grace when, at the same time, humans have a responsibility to respond?

One proposed solution has been to claim that humans don’t really have a say in the matter. God “graciously” allows only certain people to trust in him. But I simply cannot square this view with what I read in Scripture.

Another idea is that Jesus only made salvation possible, but we still have to work to earn it. This view, similarly, runs afoul of Scripture’s teaching that we can’t earn our own salvation.

The Bible is pretty clear on two things: One, salvation is indeed an act of God’s grace. And two, humans are accountable for how they personally respond. So how do the two fit together?

Enter the beard.

I was thinking recently about the fact that we men aren’t really capable of choosing to grow our own beards. It’s true! There’s not a thing we can do to force out even a single hair. Our only role in the act of growing a beard is choosing not to shave.

Isn’t that just like salvation?

There’s not a thing we can do to make ourselves righteous before God. But God sent his Son to defeat the powers of sin and death once and for all. And he is currently working to draw everyone toward himself. Our only role is to surrender our self-will and allow God to shape us into the people he wants us to be.

We can’t choose to move closer to God; but we can choose to stop resisting his advances.

God is pursuing you too. Stop fighting.