Friday, August 17, 2012

Grace upon grace

“Grace upon grace” (John 1:16)

Imagine for a moment another person showing you grace not just once but over and over again. It’s easy to find that person to be a kind-hearted saint. But this is not true of us. We might think it true of us but the blinders are still there blocking our view of reality. Undeserved favor (grace) is not a gift we wrap all pretty with a bow on top. We might show compassion, mercy or forgiveness at times but most of the time we are inclined to hold a grudge or want revenge. Now imagine the holy Creator of all things showing you grace not just once but over and over again. That should blow our minds.

Grace is nothing more than unmerited favor. It is a gift which means we don’t deserve it. This is why it’s like pulling teeth to extend grace to another sinner. We want to be shown grace but we don’t want to extend grace. We like gifts but not giving them. We think we deserve grace. That’s a contradiction. Sadly we lack extending grace to others. What should be our basis for extending grace? As followers of Christ our basis is the gospel. The foundation of our grace to others is the grace shown to us in the gospel. Grace begins in Christ. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life” (John 1:1-4a). Jesus the Creator of all things is the One we have despised and rejected. In the garden we told God who we thought should be in charge. We clearly told him to get up while we tried to sit down on his throne. What did we deserve for this defiance toward God? Death. But rather then death God extended grace upon grace to Adam and Eve.

Now a death did occur at the fall. Sin entered the world through Adam and the curse has affected each of us. What we deserve for our sin is death: spiritual and physical. Yet what most of us receive is breath. We receive grace upon grace. Rather than acknowledge God as the giver of our breath we mock him. He causes the sun to rise and the rain to fall yet he receives rejection rather than honor and praise. This is how all of us treat our Creator. Yet beyond this common grace he extends to everyone is his saving grace which he gives as a gift to his children. We all had no hope until “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). The Creator came to dwell among his creation in order to redeem a people for his own possession. Sinners have been granted new life through his grace. “For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace” (John 1:16).

Christian, since you have received this magnificent grace shouldn’t we be people who extend grace to others? I find it impossible to be made a new creation in Christ yet reject to give grace to others. May we be the most gracious people in the world. This doesn’t mean we compromise on the truth but we do want to speak the truth in love. Our desire should be to represent Christ. Christ showed us grace upon grace. We in turn ought to show grace upon grace.

Grace upon grace,
JRL

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