Saturday, 30 August 2014

Understanding Grace

In the beginning when God created life the universe and everything, he gave man freedom of choice.  The choice to choose right from wrong, good from bad, generosity from greed, being helpful from hindrance, loving from lust, etc.  If we choose what is right there is a cost and there is also a benefit, if we choose what is wrong there may be a benefit but there is always a consequence.  The consequence of our decision to do what is wrong not only affects us, but also those around us. 

Sometimes bad things are a direct result of wrong we do:

  • If we exceed the speed limit : we can expect to get a fine.
  • If we have a fight and injure someone: we could end up in jail.

Sometimes bad things happen as a result of others doing wrong:

  • If someone steel your lunch: you go hungry.
  • If is a war: some will be killed and some will be orphaned.

If you think that life is not fair then you are quite correct. LIFE IS NOT FAIR.  It is not supposed to be; life is not about fairness, life it is about GRACE.

Grace is where someone who loves you, and knows that you cannot afford it, pays your speeding fine for you; someone shares his lunch with you because yours was stolen; someone bails you out of jail; someone adopts the orphan and becomes their father.  Grace and fairness are not the same things. Don't get me wrong. God is just and we are accountable to Him for our actions (and inactions). But God is also gracious.

You see we all do what is wrong, each and every one of us.  We all have fallen short of the glory of God.  Each of us has gone his (or her) own way, like stray sheep wondering of to do his own thing and not the right things that God intended.  But I do mostly what is right isn't that good enough. To not break the law you must do what is right all the time and as the apostle Paul wrote: "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23 NIV)

There is something that you must understand about God.  God is absolutely good, absolutely pure, absolutely holy and absolutely just.  There is no darkness in Him at all.  To stand in His presence we must be absolutely pure.  But as you know, mankind is anything but pure.

I will use cake for an analogy.  In some ways our lives are a bit like baking a cake. To make a good cake you must have 100% good ingredients.  If you have 99% good ingredients and 1% dog poo, you can’t make a good cake.  You may argue that it only has a little bit of dog poo and that it’s mostly good, but are you willing to eat it?  We are a bit like this.  At best we are only mostly good and therefore partly bad.  The Bible describes our good works as filthy rags.  So what about our good intentions that so often go wrong?  “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:23)

So this is what God did about it, He came in the very person of Jesus taking upon Himself the likeness of a man. This man Jesus loved like no other and he was righteous like no other. In His love he took upon Himself all the sins of the world and died in our place.  It was he who picked up the tab, he who took upon Himself the inadequacies of us all and it is His love that sets us free.

So, what will you do about Jesus?

If you want the ride of your life, and don’t mind that you will have your life turned upside-down and inside out, challenged and changed and if you don’t mind getting your hands dirty, having a bit of a rough ride occasionally but also having life and living it to the full, then you’d better check out what Jesus said.

Life in Christ is rewarding like no other but it is not always easy or necessarily comfortable. And the cost can be considerable as there will be many things that will change and need to be changed, but the journey is worth it and so is the destination.

But before you race of and start something that you cannot finish, Jesus talked about counting the cost, and he did this through a Parable.

"Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying, 'This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.'

"Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple." (Luke 14:28 – 33 NIV)

The Parable that Jesus told about counting the cost is in two parts. The first part is counting the cost of following Jesus, which can be substantial, especially for some people in more restrictive parts of the world.  The second part of the parable is about a king, with an opposing king coming against him with a far greater army. The decision that must be made as to whether he can defend his kingdom against the overwhelming odds or whether he should send a delegation to ask for terms of peace.

One day, whether we like it or not, we shall all stand before God our Creator and to Him, we will have to give an account of our action and inaction. Can we defend ourselves against God, or should we ask for terms of peace before that day comes.

God loves you, but He will not put up with the corruption of man forever.

It’s time to choose.

No comments:

Post a Comment