I began receiving urgent phone calls from the mortgage company that holds title on our home to call them as soon as possible. (No, we don’t “own” our home; the bank does.) At first, I thought it was simply a marketing gimmick, since when I returned the call at the provided number, it led me to a menu of departments. However, every month I received another “urgent” call.
Finally, I called, randomly chose a department, and was determined to get to the bottom of this.
After being (predictably) transferred a number of times, a knowledgeable person explained to me that these were “helpful reminders” that my due date for the payment was passed––that my payment was in fact “past due.”
Surprised, since I have never been “late” with a payment, and have never had to pay a late fee, I reviewed the facts as questions:
“Have I ever been assessed a late fee?”
“No” was the immediate reply.
“Is not my due date the 15th of the month?” “Well, yes” the helpful but hesitant voice responded. “But your payment is actually due on the 1st of the month.”
“Then why am I not assessed a late fee until the 15th?” I asked.
“Because you have a fifteen day grace period,” she explained.
“So, grace means I don’t have to pay it until the 15th.”
“Well, we would like it on the 1st.”
“But no penalty until the 15th?” I countered, to be sure.
“Yes,” she tentatively agreed.
“Then I do in fact understand. And I’d like the reminders to stop. Don’t penalize me for paying during the grace period––or it isn’t grace at all.”
Grace is just that: grace. You don’t incur penalties.
And because of Christ, I am living in a “grace period”––though for very different reasons (His vicarious death), and with no prospect for future penalties.
And if you don't understand that, you don't understand grace. Period.