When the enemy never let’s up, neither does God’s grace.
We’re all familiar with the “But wait” commercials. If you act within the next hour, we’ll double the offer! God has His own version, and it’s infinitely greater than any human offer. It consists of gifts God freely gives simply because He wants to. Being forgiven is just the beginning. If His grace were a book, most Christians have only read the introduction. There’s so much more, and it’s all available the moment we’re born again. Like any gift, it will have no effect unless we recognize it, accept it, use it, and enjoy it.
Use Your Imagination
You just opened a brightly wrapped package containing a picture of a brand-new Lamborghini. You can spend hours admiring the picture, or you can run into your garage to check out the magnificent gift that is now yours. Metaphorically speaking, this is as far as most Christians get. Some never get past the picture. Others will take it for a brief spin before returning it to the garage. A few will dare to try it out on the open road. Still fewer will take it to the track and see what it can do.
So, what keeps us from enjoying our new wheels? Perhaps we’re convinced there’s nothing wrong with our Dodge Dart. We don’t want to admit we bought a lemon, so we try our best to sing its praises. This pictures us refusing to admit that we’re as wretched as God says we are. (Check out Romans 3:10-18 again.) Fully convinced that we’re basically good but need a little help from Jesus, we see no need for the extras God is offering.
Some of us don’t know God well enough to expect Him to freely give us anything. We think it’s up to us to earn God’s favor. Others gladly accept God’s gift of forgiveness, but their attitude is “I’ve got it from here.” Others are content being saved from hell. They can enjoy life on their terms knowing they have fire insurance. None of these will ever experience real peace, joy, and rest.
The first gift is our justification. I was forgiven in November of 1980 because of Christ’s sacrifice on my behalf. Having been forgiven, I now stand before God justified, “just as if I’d” never sinned. I know my guilt, but God no longer sees it or considers it. The one who is justified has been declared (not made) righteous and then treated as such. We may forgive someone, yet always expect the worst. Not so with God. Once He has issued a “justified” (not guilty) decree, He expects the best with no strings attached.
Imagine that you have consistently been passed over for a promotion when you know you’re completely qualified. Now imagine that you keep getting promoted when you know how completely unqualified you are. On top of that, additional perks keep coming your way. Wouldn’t you be overcome with gratitude knowing how unworthy you are? This imperfect illustration pictures the grace God loves to shower on His unworthy children.
The second of the “much mores” is God’s own righteousness. With Christ as our life, His righteousness is imputed to us. We all want people to think well of us, but we’re warned against being man-pleasers instead of God-pleasers. Isn’t it awesome that despite the sad truth about us, God has chosen to see us not only as justified, but as righteous as Jesus…and to treat us as such? Who does that? Only God.
The third is the gift of satisfaction, not ours, but God’s, and it’s linked to the word “propitiation.” To propitiate is “to satisfy the demands of.” In our case, God’s specific demand was that the soul that sins must die (Ezek. 18:4). Sin requires death. Blood must be shed because the life of the flesh is in the blood (Lev. 17:11). Therefore, sin must be punished by death, and when blood is shed on behalf of the guilty one, God’s wrath against sin is satisfied. Propitiation is sometimes translated “mercy seat” (where the blood was sprinkled above the Ark of the Covenant). This kept God from judging His people. It covered all their guilt. This is where God met with man.
Today, Jesus is the only place where God in heaven will meet with man on earth. Jesus is our propitiation, our mercy seat. Therefore, Paul declares that there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man, Christ Jesus (1 Tim 2:5). Because Jesus is our propitiation, we can know for certain that God is holding nothing against us (unless we are harboring unconfessed sin). We are free to draw near to the throne of grace to receive God’s mercy whenever we need it. What a gift!
As wonderful as these three gifts are, God’s grace keeps on coming. It’s been here since we were born again, but many are unaware of it, have taken it for granted, ignored it, or neglected it. Let’s not let Satan rob us of our joy any longer. As we come to appreciate each one, we can’t help but fall more in love with the giver of all good gifts. His love for His children is limitless. Pay attention as you search His word. His gifts are there, waiting to be discovered. Enjoy the hunt!
ON THE LIGHTER SIDE
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