At election time I often become quite cynical as candidates make promises and declare give-aways on the condition they secure my vote. Whether its tax cuts or increases in essential services, whether it’s a new infrastructure project or a commitment to more transparency in government I often ask, are these offers “fair dinkum”, are they too good to be true?

Then there are the commercial operators. I was in a store recently that offered an item free if I bought four. But I only wanted to purchase one!

Over summer I was confronted with ads for things I don’t really need. I was told “nothing refreshes like an ice cold Coca-Cola” when a chilled water would suffice. Meanwhile the January sales constantly entice us to buy clothes and other goods we don’t really want.

Everywhere we look these days it seems as though we are being offered lucrative deals or are being lured into spending up big.

But do all these things really amount to what they claim to be? Too often we are disappointed or felt let down by our politicians. Rarely are we completely satisfied with all those tempting deals offered by retailers.

Are all these things “fair dinkum” or are they too good to be true?

Over the next few weeks, during the period of Lent, we will look at a series of studies on grace. Grace can be an “iffy” subject in today’s world because it concerns a free give away. Grace doesn’t rate all that high in contemporary public discourse because it’s something freely given. There is no need to pay a price – and that seems too good to be true!

But the truth of the matter is that no other word or no other term better describes God.

God is a God of grace. God freely gives of Godself for our sake and for our wellbeing. God does this in Jesus Christ whose life is freely poured out for our salvation. All we need to do is to accept. All we are called to do is to trust. All we are required to do is to share this amazing gift with others.

In today’s cynical world, is all this “fair dinkum” or is it too good to be true? In this age of cheap promises and so-called irresistible offers does God’s grace stand up? Is it for real?

During this period of Lent, check out God’s grace out for yourself. Think about it and reflect on it. I believe you won’t be disappointed!

Rev John Barr