Tuesday, March 31, 2009

But God . . .

Grace. Is that a concept that you completely understand? I’m pretty sure that I don’t fully understand it nor regularly practice it.
We are sometimes “merciful,” or “compassionate,” or “benevolent,” or “empathetic,” or “forgiving.” But something as pure and loving and undeserving as “grace” – can it ever be demonstrated by anyone but God?
Nevertheless, that little phrase “but God” seems to help me get a slightly better grip on the concept of “grace.” Because throughout the history of man, due to the condition of man’s heart and the choices he has made, he has been headed toward certain (and deserved) destruction. He has set himself on the path toward desolation, doom, and death.
But God has stepped in. But God has intervened. But God has changed everything.
Just a few instances of that include:
BUT GOD sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. Genesis 45:7
BUT GOD does not take away life; instead, he devises ways so that a banished person may not remain estranged from him. 2 Samuel 14:14
BUT GOD will redeem my life from the grave; he will surely take me to himself. Psalm 49:15
BUT GOD demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
BUT GOD is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. Ephesians 2:4 (NLT)
When man has fouled things up and set definite consequences in motion - God has repeatedly turned the tables. He has reversed our fortunes over and over. Time after time He has removed what we deserved, and replaced it with something we couldn’t possibly earn.
I was born with a nature that sought only my own way; I made choices that considered only me; I wanted to be in charge. But God . . .
My heart was hard and closed; I needed to change and couldn’t. But God . . .
I had done so much that I couldn’t fix; I owed so much and I couldn’t pay. But God . . .
I was a lost cause. But God . . .

But God . . . poured out His grace.
God poured out His grace to me, on me, and through me.
And just like the internet, the internal combustion engine, photosynthesis, or my cell phone – I don’t have to fully understand ‘grace’ to take full advantage of it. Since I couldn’t earn His grace, and I can’t alter His grace, and I can’t lose His grace, even though I may not completely understand it I am left with the obvious choice of savoring His grace.

Taste and see that the LORD is good;
blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.
Psalm 34:8

But for the grace of God,
Craig Hollingsworth


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