During my studies and reflections on Grace, it became crystal clear to me why its concept is the most unique one in all of religious history.
Here's how I can vulgarize it all, under the light of the DID, GET verbs.
- Every religion and belief system promotes the notion that:
You have to DO things to GET things.
- Biblical Grace says:
You can't DO anything to GET anything. Someone else (Jesus) DID everything so we can GET everything. You can only BELIEVE in that and LIVE accordingly.
This poem, this story, this image brings me to reflect on the Grace I've been shown. The difference between the value I had before Grace and the one after Grace is more than striking.
From worthless to worthwhile, from undervalued to overvalued, from nothing to everything.
I am this down-trodden violin. And I understood the ultimate power of the touch of the Master's hand: it's Grace.
In our descriptions of God's character, we often find ourselves separating the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament. We 'know' He is the same God, but then sentences like the following come out: - God was Justice before Christ and then He was Love- God used to rule with the Law, now, He is gracious to us- Grace wasn't present before Christ and was introduced through Christ
But that is all false. God, in the OT, was a gracious God, dispensing mercy, compassion and love since the creation of the world. He did not change His ways or introduce a new concept in Christ. He fulfilled it in Christ.
Here is the biblical proof of God the Father's link to Grace in the Old Testament:
- (G) describes God Ex 20:6, 34:6-7, Nu 14:18-19, Dt 4:31, 5:10, 7:9, Ne 9:32, 2Ch 30:9, Ps 37:25-26, 62:12, 77:8-9, 78:38, 86:15, 103:8, 106:45, 111:4, 112:4, 116:5, 145:8-9, Jr 9:23-24, Dn 9:9, Jl 2:13, Jnh 4:2, Mic 7:18-20, Na 1:3
- (G) is God's actions Ps 25:10, 145:17, Zc 4:7
- God's (G) for Israel remembered Ne 9:5-37
- (G) is God's longing Is 30:18, Ho 6:6
- (G) is God's gift Ps 84:11, 2Co 9:8, Jm 1:17
- (G) is God’s throne He 4:16
It was Grace that saved Adam and Eve's life. Justice would have eradicated them for disobeying God's simple command in the Garden of Eden. It was Grace that appeared to Abraham. It was Grace that saved Noah. It was Grace that chose Israel and made Israel the nation it was. And the examples keep going throughout Old Testament history.
God never changed. Neither did His Grace.
This song was used during the cardboard testimonies
. I describes how much God loves us. One line in it captured the immensity of His Grace.If Grace is an ocean, we're all sinking.
Enjoy the video with lyrics.
Chuck Swindoll gave this illustration before one of his series. He spoke about a very telling scene in the based-on-real-life movie Black Hawk Down.
In a raid, a task force of Delta Force soldiers, Army Rangers, and Special Operations Aviation Regiment attempt to capture two of Mohamed Farah Aidid's senior subordinates in the Bakaara Market neighborhood of Mogadishu. The mission is led by Major General William F. Garrison and is supposed to take no more than half an hour. The extraction by the Delta team is successful, but the Somali militia, armed with RPGs, shoot down two Black Hawk helicopters, and the resulting rescue extends the mission to over 18 hours. (WP)
In this one scene a colonel, played by Tom Sizemore, was trying to get a convoy of trucks out of the battle zone. The trucks had been under siege by the enemy and there had been terrible wounds and deaths that had occurred. The colonel went to the lead truck where the driver had been killed and pulled the body out. Then he turned to a Sergeant and told him to drive the truck out of there.
The sergeant responded that he had been shot to which the colonel replied, "We've all been shot! Now drive the truck."
Why do we need Grace ? Because we've all been shot... and because we've all shot others.
I have seen too many a times someone use Grace as an excuse to do whatever they wanted. God is Love, right? He is going to forgive me anyways, right?
I became intrigued about the relationship between Grace and Truth, Justice and Obedience. How do they work together ? Does one balances the other: like too much on the 'Justice side' is Legalism, too much on the 'Love side' is Abuse ?
First, Grace is characterized as being not the law Jn 1:17
, Ro 4:16
, Ga 2:21
, 5:4 Conclusion 1 : They aren't the same.
Then we see that Grace is forever linked with
Conclusion 2 : There is a relationship.
- Truth 2Sa 15:20, Ps 61:7, 85:10, 89:14, Pr 3:3, 14:22, 16:6, 20:28, Ho 4:1, Mic 7:20, Jn 1:14,17
- Justice Ps 33:5, 101:1, Jr 9:24, Ho 2:19, 12:6, Mic 6:8, Zc 7:9
- Righteousness Ps 33:5, 112:4, 116:5, Pr 21:21, Jr 9:24, Ho 2:19, 10:12, Ro 5:17, 21
We continue and notice that GraceConclusion 3 : Grace leads me to obey.
On the flip side we see that Grace is not to be abused Is 26:10
, Jnh 2:8
, Ro 3:8
, Ga 1:6
, 2Co 6:1
, He 10:29
, Jude 1:4Conclusion 4: Grace is not an excuse to disobey.
And finally, when looking deeper at the relationship between Grace and Obedience, I find
1. that Grace is the SOURCE of my Obedience Ps 119:29
, Ro 1:5
and Holiness Ro 6:22
, 2Co 1:12
, 2Ti 1:9
, Tit 2:11-13
, 1Pt 2:1-3
2. Grace is the RESULT of my Obedience Ex 20:6
, Dt 7:9
, 1Ki 8:23
, 2Ch 6:14
, Ps 84:11
, Pr 1:9
, Ezr 8:22
, Ne 1:5
, Is 30:18
, Am 5:15
, Ep 6:24Conclusion 5: I obey because of Grace and I receive Grace because I obey.
I take an important life lessons from that: It really is all about giving Grace to the sinner ...including myself,
but never being graceful towards the sin itself ...including my own.
Grace has the unique property of having a radical transformation
effect on life. You're going in one direction, you hit Grace, then you go in another. The 'Before' and 'After' pictures are more shocking than any diet advertisement will ever show.
Cardboard testimonies are people like you and me, being open, transparent and honest about their 'Before' and showing us the 'After'. They had hit Grace.
There are a couple of those posted on the Net. This one made me cry.