For the past couple months now the topic of Grace has been on the forefront of my mind. This is definitely a subject that demands much thought and consideration. I am sure that my little exploration into the topic will yield feeble results. I am not being overly hard on myself. Like many over the centuries, I have cheapened and taken this word for granted. Around two thousand years ago now a guy name Paul wrote about grace in a letter to the church in Rome. In his letter he wrote….
6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. – Romans, 5:6-8.
It is so hard for some of us to own up to our own short comings. We like to wink at our flaws and say to ourselves, “I’m not perfect, but I’m not an axe murderer; I’m not as bad as that guy they just talked about on the news.” We then look to blame others for the terrible condition of our world. We blame our parents, we blame the family, we blame government, we blame the system, we blame our circumstances and we even blame God. We blame everyone else but we seem to fail to own up to the possibility that we might contribute to anything bad in our world. In the deep, twisted and… I think… funny words of despair.com, “No single rain drop believes it is to blame for the flood.”
I urge us all to look around. We all live in the same small world and for generations we have all been trying to figure out how to make things better for everyone. Let’s face it, with all of our good intentions, and with all of our knowledge of all that is good and all that is evil, left to ourselves, we simply don’t have the ability to do good all the time. Our capacity to do great things is matched with a capacity to do terrible things. When technology and innovation is added to the equation we seem to be able to do really good things and really bad things more efficiently and rapidly. I would add that we can do all of this at a global scale. With all the accomplishments that we can boast about throughout history, war is still in no short supply, hunger is alive and well, we are no strangers to violence and injustice still seems to run just as freely as ever.
Enter Paul’s statement in Romans, 5:6-8. The sin level in our world is just as consistent today as it was 2000 years ago. In my opinion, we only sin more efficiently today than we did when Jesus walked on the earth in the flesh. Yet, in the midst of this predictable pattern of what so often appears to be a prevailing flow of sin, God does something radical…dramatic…and some might even say crazy. He “demonstrates is own love for us in this: While we were still sinners he died for us.”
Dear God…Thank You, Thank You, Thank You for sending your Son, who willingly chose to die for us in the midst of our sin. Help us…Your creation see our need for You…Help us see how every single drop of sin we contribute adds to a flood that is drowning us all. Our debt of sin is too great to pay off alone. As painful as it is for this foolish man, I thank you for consistently reminding me of this. You did not simply wink at our sin and give in to our foolishness. If justice is to be served we all deserve death. Yet you paid our debt and in that point alone there are no words to describe or quantify the value of your Grace. There are no acts of righteousness and no religious activities that can make up for your Grace. With that thought in mind dear God, help those of us who place our hope in Your Grace introduce the world to your Grace. Not through our words or through self-righteous piety, but help the world see Your Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness, Faithfulness and Self Control through us….Please…let it be so…