Lavished with Grace
I was asked to share a message in morning devotions today and I thought I would share some of my thoughts here. It was about grace. God’s ridiculously generous largess in forgiving a depraved world; civilizations that have rejected him, one so sick he destroyed the earth and started over; countries that rejected him and slaughtered millions of his people; families that have rejected him all over the world; Christian children that grow up and toss their childhood faith into the trash because it’s so old fashioned, so limiting, so narrow. I would like to suggest that what is narrow is the world’s thinking; that what is in fact, deep and wide and all-embracing is God’s love for us, his outlandish willingness to give his own life for ours.
Why would he do that? We don’t understand why, but we read that he created us as compatible beings, in his image, giving us the ability to relate to him on a personal level. He wants our friendship, our companionship enough that he gave his one and only perfect Son to take the penalty for his beloved billions of imperfect creations. What a wonder! Everyone can accept this wonderful gift, but not everyone does.
What of those? How do we relate to unbelievers, to governments who rage against our faith, to cultures that scorn us, to workplaces who mock us, to our loved ones who isolate themselves from us and sometimes deny us. Are we better than they are? Do we have a platform to stand on and proclaim our righteous superiority? No, the Bible makes it clear that we are no better. “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.” (Rom. 2:1) The scriptures go on to say that we have all sinned and fall short (Rom. 3:23) but that we are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. (Rom. 3:24-25).
We sing that God is our Father, that Jesus is our friend and that is true. But we caused none of it; we earned none of it. It is all a gift from God, himself, an unprecedented, bizarre gift that was so unthinkable even God’s spiritual nemesis didn’t see it coming.
So, how should we live? We should love, as Jesus commanded. Love those who do not love us back, love those who hate us, love those who do us wrong. Jesus lived like that. He hung out with sinners, he criticized the self-righteous, he said he’d come to seek and to save the lost. While some believed, others did not. Some hated him enough to kill him. But it was all part of his unimaginable plan of redemption. He lives on now and forever and we will live on with him. This is how we should live; just like he did, lavishing God’s love and grace on those whom we touch each day.