I awoke earlier than usual this morning. I had tossed and turned all night, I had things on my mind, and the unseasonably warm West-Texas winter had brought with it unbearable cedar allergies. The desperate choice of Thera-Flu nighttime I made the night before to ease my sinus headache was dulling my senses.
I finally gave into my foggy wakefulness and I shuffled to the kitchen to greet my old friend, Keurig. I groped the pods in dim light, squinting, in search of dark roast. Finally finding one after picking up several hundred worthless decaf K-cups. “Thank you Jesus,” I whispered. Impatiently, I waited for my favorite mug to fill, grabbing the cup even before the last drop could hit. I found a quiet spot and sat down with my much loved morning elixir.
While I watched the sun come up over the canyon at our ranch home, half awake, I thought “It always comes up”. No matter my folly, Its rays creep into every corner, whether it be a lovely, manicured, green pasture or a filthy, trash-littered, foul-smelling, alley.
There it is, in all its glory, warming and lighting all in its path.
The fact that some eyes curse its emergence, or hide from it behind thick curtains does not change its arrival. I began to ponder the sunshine and my unwavering faith and confidence in it. As my windows began illuminating the room, I carefully sip the edge of my steaming cup and read the lovely scripted font on my mug that I have read 1000+ times….
“His Grace is All you Need” 2 Corinthians 12:9
And I began to wonder…Is that really true?
How far reaching is God’s grace? Where does God’s grace begin and where does it end?
It is unfathomable to the natural mind.
We wear out the word “grace” in Christian speak much like my kids praise boxed Kraft mac-n-cheese as “awesome!”. When you truly think about the extent of God’s grace, it will stretch your mind and heart to an uncomfortable place you will not recognize. And still, you won’t know exactly what to do with it. We try to put boundaries on God’s grace by saying “you must do this or that” or “you must NOT do this or that” in order to receive it or to keep it. Implying that your choices or behavior can somehow place you at the end of God’s grace. He was gracious to the point of sacrificing his son, whom he loved, to a horrible death. His grace came first, not your faith, not your obedience. You did not earn it, and you cannot pay for it.
We try to tuck the corners in on the ocean waves of grace so we can put it in our pocket. We cut it into bite size pieces so it will be more palatable on our dainty forks. Our biggest concern when it comes to grace? That it will be taken advantage of….
Romans 6:1 . Paul writes:
“What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace will increase? Let it never be!”
And, I certainly agree!
The main focus on this widely quoted verse is that we can take advantage of grace. The paramount thing we overlook is that grace is limitless. Grace grows, spreads, and has no boundaries. It is from East to West and clear to the ocean floor.
To diminish it is more treacherous than to abuse it.
But we reason; “God is just,” and that He certainly is. God is also merciful. God’s Grace is the place where justice and mercy collide. And if we were honest we would admit, we seek mercy for ourselves and justice for everyone else. But, God seeks grace for all.
This kind of grace is scandalous to our human minds; we have no mental capacity for it.
Jesus was scandalous.
Scandalous is defined as “causing general public outrage by a perceived offense against morality or law.”
Jesus claimed to be God.
He forgave sins and refused to condemn sinners, breaking bread with them instead. He does the same now. He gave them the power to “go and sin no more”. It was not a command. A command to sin no more is impossible to accomplish by our own devices. We sin continually without even knowing it. And If we needed to ask for forgiveness for our sins to be forgiven we would fail, because we would leave out hundreds upon hundreds of sins that we are unaware of. He did not put on them an impossible command, setting them up for failure. He blessed them with the power to sin no more. He sent them away with His power, His spirit, His grace. Their only part was to believe, and even that faith was given to them.
He gave the lame power to walk in the spirit, and not in their weak flesh.
He gave the blind the power to see in the spirit, and not in their flawed flesh.
And that is the same power that He gives us now, walking in the spirit, seeing in the spirit, not in flesh. It is by His grace we are saved. There is no beginning and no end to it. By His Grace, He died for me, rose again, gave me the faith to receive Him, put His spirit in me. A spirit that guides me, counsels me, produces good fruit in me, and accomplishes the good work God has created especially for me.
Grace is power, not just pardon. Just as the sun gives light, warmth, power and energy, God’s grace gives us so much more than just unearned favor. You can rely on it, completely, without question, or doubt.
His grace is all we need.
Enter His Rest, Stacey
Photo Credits to my son jaydentodd