I am riding the grace train as far as it will take me. I have been on board the other rides, and found them to be going nowhere, fast. Grace, I am certain, will bring me home. Any other destination would be meaningless and empty for grace is where God is. It is His idea. He owns grace. With that God given grace we have been saved - it is His gift to us. That means, God sorted through the treasures of heaven, and he pulled out grace to give us, first and foremost. He demonstrated that gift of grace when He willed Jesus to take the punishment we deserve, and placed it squarely on His shoulders.That is what saves us. That transforms us. That makes us a new creation, with old things passed away (dead) and a new life in its place. Lack of grace? Old life…
When our original parents sinned, they blew it in sizeable fashion. They were surrounded by grace… living in paradise. Only one rule existed - do not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They could only make one mistake - and they made it. In a situation where failure was hardly possible, they failed. Now, the One who placed them in paradise had every right to be fuming. Instead the Response was more grace. Surely, He allowed for some consequences but He covered their shame and restored the broken relationship - even forecasting that this error would result in Grace galore - a Savior would come and conquer the sin problem once and for all.
So why do believers in Jesus - frequently miss the grace factor? It looms large and is impossible to avoid when you look at Him. That is, if you look at the true Jesus. There are other forms of Jesus that portray Him as angry and opposed to the people He created. But this is a poor representation of the Truth. God so loved the world… we all know that verse. Consider another one, “God was in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. “ How can sin not count against us? In a word - Grace.
Where we fall short is in our desire that sin should still count; tallied as it were, awaiting punishment. We subtly want people to pay for their mistakes - especially if they have wronged us. But Jesus has a grace answer for that condition as well - forgive 70 times 7. Certainly we need discipline. God provides that for those that He loves. But His correction is guiding us toward grace. Maturity is His goal for us, resulting in our final, forever state, which will be to show forth His grace for the ages to come. Grace is the goal of discipline. It is why we can rejoice in hardship. We are headed for grace. It is not something we work around. Grace is what we work within. It’s the point. Its why Scripture leaves correction squarely in the lap of the Spiritual ones. (If a brother be overtaken by a fault, you who are spiritual, restore him…)The Godly understand grace. That is why they are authorized to discipline. Children run to parents crying “I’m telling on you” Parents must not discipline based on childish complaints. Parents need patience, wisdom and grace to sort out the facts and to mete out discipline appropriately. They can not react in knee jerk fashion to every issue raised in complaint. The truth is what they must be after. Grace is partnered with truth.
Grace is also closely tied to love. Love produces grace. Recently, I had a person come to me and express that they knew “dirt” or bad things about certain members of our church. They told me that they wanted to fill me in on what I, apparently, was missing, I replied that what was missing was love. I love the people they were ready to malign, and love covers sin. Paul wrote that love hopes for the best - not brings out the worst. Love does not keep a record of wrongs. It bears all things. It is gracious. “From now on, we consider no man from a pre-grace condition,” (according to flesh) Scripture points out. Grace has come and saved the day.
When the Apostle Paul began his ministry, he considered himself the “least of the apostles.” Later he wrote that he was “less than the least of all the saints.” Just before he died, he considered himself the “chief of sinners.” His need for grace grew as his life progressed… until that final moment when he was face to face with Grace. On that day - when you look to point out sin - you will find it a useless exercise. It always has been that... pointless. We know we are sinners - saved by grace. Sin is covered over. Removed. Gone. Nailed to a cross. Why try to pull it off those wooden beams and throw it around a bit? That job is already taken. There is an accuser. He knows nothing of grace - except for what he sees in us.
Grace seems like ‘getting off easy,” but actually it is just the opposite. It is the hardest thing we have to do. Paul told the church at Galatia that they had been bewitched - having turned away from grace. The grace life is hard work. And, if you slip away from it - you wind up somewhere you don’t want to be… maybe forever. Its that serious. Children of the King bear a family resemblance. Jesus is full of grace and truth. The next time you bring a case against someone, and you want to have others believe it is true, ask yourself - is this accusation equally filled with grace?
I am riding the grace train. All the way home.