Jul 10th, 2017
I've noticed in the past decade or so there has been a lot of talk about Grace. A lot of interchanging of the words Grace and Mercy. These are two completely different words. Mercy is Jesus becoming a sacrifice to repair our relationship with God when the world didn't want it - this is Mercy. Now Grace, what we're talking about today, is a completely different thing and we're going to dive into that.
Last week we talked about Abraham's covenant with God and how it created that special relationship between God and Abraham's descendants. It was the first step to fixing the damage caused by Adam and Eve in the garden. We're not talking sin here. Yes sin is a problem, sin has become a plague that has spread over the world, the wages of it is death. It is a horrible thing that God never intended mankind to live under. We have to deal with it, we have to get it out of our lives, we have to repent of that and turn to the Lord.
But, that's not what kicked Adam and Eve out of the garden, and that's not what keeps you out of eternity, and that's not what causes certain people to go to hell. What is the cause of all of those things was a disconnect of relationship between God and mankind. The specific disconnect that kicked off the whole thing was the breaking of the command to not eat the fruit of that tree in the garden. It wasn't necessarily sin that caused the problem, but a disconnect of that relationship.
God comes to Abraham and puts him to sleep and the sacrifice for the covenant that they're cutting is cut in half and God passes in-between the two halves and Abraham commits as well as he can being a mortal man plagued by sin to keep this covenant. This allows God to give us the law. Without Abraham's commitment to that covenant God wouldn't have had permission to give us the law because God gave man dominion over the Earth. We've talked about this in episode three of the podcast.
Abraham not being able to finish the covenant, because in order to repair the relationship between God and mankind, God would have to pass through the sacrifice and then the other half of the covenant would have to pass through the sacrifice as well. But, the other half of the covenant would have to be blameless, perfect, without sin. Abraham couldn't live up to that bar, and none of his descendants could live up to that bar either, until Jesus. Being a descendant of Abraham, but also being God made flesh could then offer himself up as sacrifice and finish the covenant that God started with Abraham.
I get so excited talking about this. Looking at the breadcrumbs in the old testament leading up to Jesus. All the way from Abraham starting the covenant with God and just knowing what God has in store for us and then God coming as Jesus to fulfill it. To fulfill the law that God had given. God never intended to banish the law as some people who would re-define the word Grace would surmise and are teaching. But Jesus fulfilled the law giving us grace.
Let's talk about what grace is so we understand what we're talking about here. I don't know if you've ever driven on a mountain highway. I have; I live in the country, I drive on country roads. On mountain highways and in the country there are guardrails. Sometimes there's a deep creek and there'll be a guardrail, on a mountain highway there'll be a curve so there'll be a guardrail. I've never been angry about a guardrail being there keeping me from driving off into a creek, or driving off of a mountain. I'm thankful that the guardrail is there.
Some people have been driving faster than they should have and have scraped that guardrail and they've damaged their car. They've gotten out and they're cursing God, they're cursing the guardrail, they're cursing their car. They're looking at the damage and ignoring the fact that if the guardrail hadn't have just been there they probably would have died. They probably would have gone right off the mountain side and in a fiery explosion ceased to have life. Even with the guardrail some have gone WAAAAY faster than they should have, plowed right through the guardrail off the side of the mountain and died anyway. Even though the guardrail was there.
Wouldn't it be nice if someone came along and created more lanes on country roads, so you could drive further away from the guardrail? Or, if they could cut deeper into the mountain to create more driving lanes so you could drive further away from the guardrail?
Life and Grace are like this, we're driving on this mountain highway, we're driving on these country roads and there was no guardrail. There had been a disconnect between God and man, there was no guardrail, there was no law to keep us from driving right off the edge and forever being un-redeemable, dying forever. So some people drove off the mountain, but the covenant with Abraham that God started allowed God to give us the law. It allowed Him to build a guardrail. That kept a lot of people from driving off the edge, it did it's job; it saved a lot of lives.
Then Jesus came in mercy and he created more lanes away from the edge, and away from the law so that ALL MIGHT be redeemed. So that everyone could choose to drive further away from the guardrail. He didn't take down the guardrail, but created a way for us to live where there's distance between us and it so we're not even close to going over the edge of the mountain. So we're not even close to breaking the fundamental laws that exist to make us prosperous and happy and live a long life. The law is not your enemy, the guardrail is not the enemy.
The separation from the edge where the guardrail is, where the law is; that's grace. It's only because of what Jesus did and what God did that we are able to separate ourselves and put distance between us and breaking the law. Because of grace you can choose. Because there's so many lanes to "drive" on you can choose to live life however you want. You can live life right on the edge of breaking the law and plummeting over the edge of the mountain. Or you can truly embrace God and put some distance between you and the guardrail. You can really put grace to work and separate yourself from the things that cause you not to prosper. That cause your relationship with God to suffer. That cause your life now to have less fulfillment and meaning. This is Grace my friends.
Grace is not an excuse or a right to climb over the guardrail and look down at the valley, where you could fall in and die, and know that, "You know what, even if I let go of this guardrail God's gunna grab me by the scruff of my shirt and pull me back up." That may be true, God may very well, in mercy, because you have entered into the covenant that Jesus won for you; He may very well grab you by the scruff of your neck and pull you to safety. But, why would you live life that way? You can choose to put so much space between you and the edge of the mountain that you can't even see the guardrail anymore and that the aspect of breaking the laws of God are so far from your mind that they're not even a temptation. That's how I want to live my life and that's how I want to challenge you to live your life.
Until next time...