Ephesians 1 says that “in [Christ] we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight." When I think about “the riches of his grace,” I think of grace piled up in storehouses uncounted and unmeasured.
And it makes me think of Smaug the dragon's hoard in the Hobbit, which is nicely depicted in the second Hobbit movie. So much grace. Of course we are redeemed--there is no debt we can accumulate that cannot be paid for with that gigantic pile of gold.
And he has lavished it upon us. God is certainly no Smaug, and he is no Ebenezer Scrooge, either. Sometimes I envision God like this: he has already put down a sizable down payment on my sin debt. Every time I screw up after that, though, I need to go to him, hat in hand, and meekly say, "I'm so sorry, but I messed up and bit my husband's head off today (figuratively not literally), so I'm going to need another $5."
And then I imagine God sitting behind his accounting table, just like Scrooge, with his stacks of coins, grumbling and reluctantly pushing them over.
I say, "I'll do better. I'll try to stay out of money troubles for at least a week!"
"See that you do," says Scrooge, irritated and gruff. When I inevitably mess up ten minutes later, I feel terrible. I have to go back and ask for more. Why can't I do anything right? Oh the dread of imposing yet again.
This picture is simply rotten theology. That's not how God works at all, and it's not how grace works. Accounting doesn't come into grace. As Robert Capon wrote, "The name of the game from now on is resurrection, not bookkeeping." God lavishes grace upon us. Do you believe that? That God has so much grace he can afford to lavish it on you? And that he is not surprised at all when you screw up again seconds later? He knows. He's omniscient that way.
Not that repentance is unimportant. When you hurt someone you must say sorry, but saying sorry to God is not an opportunity for guilt-tripping and yelling and walking around on eggshells for the next two months. It's an opportunity for you to realize that God is more amazing than you ever realized before, that his grace is even deeper. You thought that you had seen the whole hoard, but he shows you rooms you didn’t even know were there, rooms prepared for your every failing. You cannot run out of riches or his love.