Why is it so hard for us to understand the grace of God? Why do we go into our shell when we know we’ve done wrong, rather than reach out to our heavenly Father?
Is it because everything about our life is based on getting something in return for what we give?
We work 40 hours a week in exchange for a pay packet. No one gives us a weekly wage to do nothing – not even the government; you at least have to fill out forms and go to job interviews to get your payments.
Even our relationships are usually based on what the other person can give us in return for our friendship. We gravitate towards someone who is interested in the things we are interested in. No one gets our time if they can’t return to us in like.
“There’s no such thing as a free lunch!” Is this why we don’t really grasp the wonder of the depths of the grace of God?
I suspect so. That means that our brains are wired to expect reward when we do good, and punishment when we do bad.
And that’s the way God works too. “Do this, and you shall live,” He declares.
The problem is, we can’t “do this…” It’s not in our makeup. Our makeup is that of rebellion and sin and enmity towards God. It’s not to do what God requires.
And yet, in spite of our inability to do good – in fact, because of our inability – God is gracious.
God needs to be gracious if we are to have any hope, for we are unable to earn the blessings and reward of God.
And we have nothing in common with God that He should be interested in a friendship with Him.
But out of the overflow the superabundance of love that permeates the Trinity, He extends His love towards us. He does that by solving the problem of our sin and alienation and inability to please Him.
He does it by sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to do for us what we could not do ourselves – obey, and obey perfectly on our behalf and as our substitute.
In the process, His Son was executed – on our behalf and as our substitute – to pay the penalty that was due from us for our sin and rebellion.
And God asks nothing in return from us, except that we trust Him. Nothing! No one does that! No one lays down his life for his enemies. No one does it without demanding something in return.
No one except God. For what could we give to God that He doesn’t have already? What does He need that we could provide? Nothing! Which is precisely what He asks of us.
In return, He offers us everything! Forgiveness, hope, reconciliation, adoption, life – eternal life.
All we have to do is trust Him to receive. That costs us nothing; but it cost Jesus Christ everything.
In only a few days it will be Good Friday. The ultimate sign of the graciousness of God. On that day, won’t you take some time to ponder just what it is that God did on our behalf on that first Good Friday.
You won’t get to the bottom of His grace as you meditate on it, but that’s OK. You have the rest of eternity to try to understand it. And the rest of eternity to be amazed by it.
“For the LORD your God is gracious and merciful and will not turn away his face from you, if you return to him” [2Chron 30:9].