The Blurred Line – Part 7
The simple and most profound message of Grace is that it is Grace. That is, it is (forgiveness, removal of penalty, escape from a sentence of guilt, never being held to pay for our wrong doing, wrong words, wrong thoughts, having Someone else pay the price for our sins) favor shown to us that we don’t deserve even at the most egregious offenses we can be guilty of, save for blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.
That is the only sin grace does not cover. Period! I know, for people who can’t handle that level of God’s love and forgiveness that sounds to easy. But, that is exactly what makes it grace for the one to whom the grace is extended, It is easy! You can’t buy it. You can’t earn it! You can only receive it by faith. But embracing feelings of guilt or pride can make it hard to receive grace. Because our broken human nature cannot comprehend the love God has for us.
No. God is not a permissive parent, who cares little about our actions and just turns His head when we sin or winks at our transgressions. NO! A precious and costly price was paid for our sakes—the cruel and incomprehensible suffering and death of our Lord Jesus Christ. Sin is costly more than all the gold and precious stones of the richest mines in the world.
Our sin was the nails that pierced His hands and feet. Our sin was the crown of thorns on His head. Our sin was the stripes He bore on His body. And with those stripes, by grace, we are healed. The Law that we transgressed crucified Him on the cross, but His grace for us held Him there in the power of His Love for us until it was finished.
Is grace then a license to sin willfully and wantonly, knowing we are under grace and not under Law? God forbid!
“For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? Shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” Romans 6:14-16
Now the important distinction that must be made is this. Grace is appropriated in the life of the believer by faith. Grace comes in a context of faith. It is not automatically applied. Sin has a reward and that reward is death. If an individual refuses to receive the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, choosing rather to continue in sin, their end is certain—death.
But grace also has the distinction of being greater then sin.
“Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: Romans 5:20
It’s hard for even the average Christian to fully understand the measure of God’s grace. It’s applied to people whose actions in the eyes of most would be considered abhorrent and even cruel and vicious in the manner in which they offended the rights and life of the weak and innocent. Yet, God finds a reason, way through our Lord Advocate and Savior, Jesus Christ to forgive us and them and extend His grace to all when we come to Him with a broken and contrite heart.
“A bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench, till He sends forth justice to victory…” Matthew 12:20
“For all those things My hand has made, and all those things exist,” says the Lord. “But on this one will I look: on him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word.” Isaiah 66:2
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart—these, O God, You will not despise.” Psalm 51:17
God’s love is about repairing and healing bruised and wounded souls, rekindling the fire and zeal of the spirit that has been reduced to smoking embers. HE is not about using us up and then casting us aside. He is about building us up and restoring us to wholeness and health. But there is condition for us to receive His grace and transforming renewal.
There are hospitals and doctors throughout the country who offer the service of their medical knowledge to anyone. The care is available and the doctors want to minister it to the sick. But, they can do nothing for those who don’t come to them with an acknowledgment of their need for healing.
Grace is available to every human being alive today and it’s free, but it is only granted to those who come to God with an acknowledgment of their need for it and an earnest desire to repent and be saved. Grace will never be forced on anyone and it is not automatic. It must be desired and sought after with faith in the only One Who can give it. That only One is Jesus.
Here are two hymns to sing and make melody in your heart to the Lord today.
How Firm A Foundation
Words by John Rippon 1787
Atrib. To: Joseph Funk, Early USA Melody
How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
You, who unto Jesus for refuge have fled?
In every condition, in sickness, in health;
In poverty’s vale, or abounding in wealth;
At home and abroad, on the land, on the sea,
As thy days may demand, shall thy strength ever be.
Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen and help thee, and cause thee to stand
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.
When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of woe shall not thee overflow;
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.
When through fiery trials thy pathways shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.
Even down to old age all My people shall prove
My sovereign, eternal, unchangeable love;
And when hoary hairs shall their temples adorn,
Like lambs they shall still in My bosom be borne.
The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to its foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.
Grace, Greater than Our Sin
By Julia H. Johnston (1911)
Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt,
yonder on Calvary's mount out-poured,
there where the blood of the Lamb was spilt.
Grace, grace, God's grace,
grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
grace, grace, God's grace,
grace that is greater than all our sin.
Dark is the stain that we cannot hide,
what can avail to wash it away!
Look! there is flowing a crimson tide;
whiter than snow you may be today. [Refrain]
Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace,
freely bestowed on all who believe;
you that are longing to see his face,
will you this moment his grace receive? [Refrain]