Grace. It is the unmerited favor of God. We sing about grace, talk about grace, preach about grace, but do we really understand God’s grace in light of the choices we make? Choices to accept God’s truth as absolute and anything opposed to God’s truth as a lie.
I’ve heard the word grace thrown around so easily, especially when applied to a part of our lives that we don’t want to deal with. You know, the part of ourselves that says, “I’m really to busy to seek God in prayer or bible study. I’m a believer, God’s grace covers me.”
God gave us His unmerited favor from the very beginning when He (The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit) created man in His own image and breathed into man’s nostrils the breath of life. (Genesis 1:27, 2:7). From the very beginning we had the unmerited favor of a deeply loving God.
God told Adam the consequences of eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. “When you eat from it, you will certainly die.” (Genesis 2:15). Adam and Eve had a choice. Oh the love of the Father that risks lavishing us with His grace by allowing us a choice! God provided them with truth: “they would die.” Even though God’s grace permeated the garden of Eden, Adam and Eve chose to believe a lie: something opposed to the truth God had told them. They traded God’s truth for a lie and the results were death.
Did Adam and Eve have to do anything to get God’s unmerited favor in their lives? The answer is no, they were given all they needed and the world was theirs to rule over. But when they made the wrong choice, the consequences God told them about, followed. Did they lose God’s grace in their lives? Again no. There was nothing they had to do to earn God’s love for them. And there was nothing they could do to take away God’s love for them. God still loved them, He still provided for them – even providing animal skins as a covering for their sins, their nakedness and their lost innocence. (Genesis 3:21). Innocent blood would now be needed to cover their sin of unbelief and disobedience. A sacrifice that would have to be repeated over and over again until the time came when God Himself would make the final sacrifice for us.
God’s grace and truth didn’t change. It never has, it never does and it never will.
God’s grace, His unmerited favor, is repeated over and over again all throughout the Bible. And man’s choices and consequential results seem to be continually cyclical as each generation chooses to seek God and adhere to His ways or not seek Him and suffer the consequences of their own poor choices. Here’s how it went: God gave the Israelites truths to live by (showing His unmerited favor to them) and the Israelites live in blessings (a receiving of His unmerited favor) until they turn their backs on those truths, or ignore those truths, and receive the consequences of their choices. Even though God’s grace was available, many times the Israelites were not receiving it by their own decision to reject His truth. But God’s grace never ends and His deep love for us never ends. Even in times of poor choices, His provision, His longing to lavish good things on the Israelites and on us, was and has always been extended to all.
Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6). Jesus is our way. Jesus is our truth. Jesus is our life. Jesus’ crucifixion is that final blood sacrifice and covering of our sins. Jesus is The Father’s unmerited favor upon us. “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14).
But we still have choices. And just like when Adam and Eve, or the Israelites chose something other than God’s way, God’s truth, and a Godly life, God’s grace was not removed. His grace is freely given to all. It is our choice to accept what God has so freely provided for, or turn our backs on His unfailing grace and love. He has provided everything we need to live, just as He provided for Adam and Eve. He has given us truth. He has given us covering for our sins (Jesus). He has given us unmerited favor. Now, we must choose what to do with it. Grace is certainly not something we earn by works done for God. There is nothing you or I could do to earn His favor. It is already there.
When we repent of our sins, and accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, we must die to our own desires and let Him begin a transforming work in our hearts and minds. But that moment of accepting Jesus should not be a one time “got my ticket to heaven” event. It is a beginning of being transformed. A transformation that goes deeper and gets more beautiful the more we seek our Lord and Savior. “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2)
He gave His own Son that you might spend eternity with Him. God has a Grace that calls out all day long, “Come to Me.”
His grace is extended to you. His grace is freely and lovingly lavished upon you. What will you do with it? Please don’t ignore Him. Please don’t be too busy to seek Him. Please don’t turn from Him. God’s grace only requires that you come to Him, open your heart and mind to His truth and thereby receive all He has for you. He loves you deeply and has so much He wants to tell you. Can you hear His gentle whisper? They are sweet love notes of grace just for you.
Oh, the Love of Father, and His unmerited favor upon me! Transform me Lord, transform me Lord!