Text: Romans 6:1-14
We know the Scriptures proclaim that God is gracious, but many struggle to believe it. Others wonder what grace actually looks like. If we take seriously the righteousness of God and the severity of our sin every day, we might find ourselves asking God, ‘Do you still love me?’ or ‘Why are you so patient with me?’ or ‘Why haven’t you killed me for what I’ve done?’
As our despising for and awareness of our sin increases, we find ourselves desperately needing a Biblical view of the grace of God. We need the Scriptures to paint a clear picture of who God is and how much He loves us in Christ Jesus. We need to see the God of the Scriptures who is so gracious it blows our minds.
How We Think About God
In Micah 6:6-7 the Israelites have a warped view of who God is. In verses 1-5, God offers a tender rebuke asking, ‘What have I done to you?’ He reminds them of how He delivered them out of the hand of Egypt and other righteous acts he’s done on their behalf.
Their response in vs.6-7 is unbelievable but painfully familiar:
“With what shall I come before the Lord and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?”
What is important is that their view of God doesn’t line up with reality. Many people view God as the angry father sitting on the throne appalled and shocked we have sinned again. They picture an impatient, angry God who is completely disappointed in us. They think our heavenly Father lives in constant frustration with His rebellious children.
God’s Grace Is Not Like Man’s Grace
Part of how we view God’s grace is often birthed out of our experience with each other. Whether it’s a parent, relative, or our general worldview, our experience with sinful and broken people affect our view of the Holy and righteous God. We are totally unfamiliar with grace, mercy, and truth that’s untainted by sin.
Naturally speaking, even though we’ve experienced grace, we’ve never met a person that embodied grace perfectly. Until Jesus. Grace: God giving us what we don’t deserve. Mercy: Not giving us what we do.
God is neither motivated by His own sinfulness (because He has no sin) neither is He enabled by His ignorance. He is a Holy and righteous God, completely empty of sin and full of goodness and love. He’s never made a mistake and can do anything except fail.
Nevertheless when we, His sinful and rebellious prodigal children, spit in His face, wallow in our sin, and grieve His Spirit, He calls us to repentance with open and loving arms saying, ‘Come home, child.’
He’s not ignorant of all the ways we’ve sinned against Him. He knows everything we’ve ever done and is able to stomach it. His knowledge of who we really are will never hinder His love for us. He’s even aware of the evil behind our righteous deeds. We need to learn that when we succeed we give thanks but if we fail we seek His grace.
In his book Grace More Than We Deserve, Greater Than We Imagine, Max Lucado puts it like this:
“This is an unpopular yet essential truth. All ships that land at the shore of grace weigh anchor from the port of sin. We must start where God starts. We won’t appreciate what grace does until we understand who we are. We are rebels. We are Barabbas. Like him, we deserve to die. Four prison walls, thickened with fear, hurt, and hate, surround us. We are incarcerated by our past, our low-road choices, and our high-minded pride. We have been found guilty. We sit on the floor of the dusty cell, awaiting the final moment. Our executioner’s footsteps echo against stone walls. Head between knees, we don’t look up as he opens the door; we don’t lift our eyes as he begins to speak. We know what he is going to say. “Time to pay for your sins.” But we hear something else. “You’re free to go. They took Jesus instead of you.” The door swings open, the guard barks, “Get out,” and we find ourselves in the light of the morning sun, shackles gone, crimes pardoned, wondering, What just happened? – Grace happened.”
Knowing God’s Grace Through the Scriptures
Throughout the Scriptures, the message of this grace is proclaimed. Our God is ‘a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty…’ Exodus 34:6-7
This grace is distinct to the Christian faith. No other religion emphasises divine grace the way the Bible does.
The less we read and pray the Bible, the more blemished our view of God becomes. If we want the grace of God to blow our minds again, read our Bibles.When grace happens, we don’t just get a nice compliment from God but a new heart. Give your heart to Christ and He returns the favour