Thursday, November 29, 2018

Is that a little 'grace-bud' I see?

God's sacrifice of his one and only begotten Son did not give us immediate perfection in the sense that we suddenly begin to act and think differently as we say "yes" to him - but it is a beginning point whereby our actions are molded into those that reflect the "grace work" he began by his atoning sacrifice. Growth is incremental - the changing of how we think about our sin is a step-by-step process.  We embrace grace, step into his love, and allow him to show us that forgiveness.  He does the rest.  Isn't it time that we begin to view our sins the way God does?  Once on the alter, they are done away with!  

If you sin without knowing what you’re doing, God takes that into account. But if you sin knowing full well what you’re doing, that’s a different story entirely. Merely hearing God’s law is a waste of your time if you don’t do what he commands. Doing, not hearing, is what makes the difference with God. (Romans 2:12-13 MSG)

Sometimes we just don't do right and we know it almost instantly. At other times, we don't do right and we really don't realize we have done anything wrong - until we see the consequences of our actions begin to bear fruit! There are all kinds of sins, but one thing is for certain - there is only one way to deal with whatever those sins are! That way? Christ and Christ alone. The grace God gives is not 'interchangeable' with any other religious experience. The forgiveness of sins is not found in any amount of religious 'work'. Grace is a gift found nowhere other than at the foot of the cross - at the altar of atonement. 

It is a waste of our time, and God's, for us to merely hear his word and then choose to just ignore it. It is equally wasteful to receive his gift of grace and then just go about doing whatever it is we want to do because we are counting on that 'grace gift' to just undo all we do wrong. The gift of grace isn't given so we can keep on sinning. On the contrary - it is given so we can learn how to move away from sin and into right-living (righteousness). Grace isn't a 'thing' - it is a way of living, acting, responding, choosing, and even just 'being'.

At the altar of grace, our sins are dealt with (once and for all). Yet, we can still make wrong choices, right? As long as we are breathing in and out, there will be the opportunity to choose right and wrong. Grace offers us new choices - but we still do the choosing. We determine to walk into grace, or we choose to walk away from it time after time again. Grace is what helps us to 'adjust' our focus and undermine those wrong choices we are making in life. Grace is equally what pulls us back to the altar each time we slip and fall.

While we may not 'feel' grace-filled, and made new, the fact remains we are indeed both of these things. Why? Where Christ makes his dwelling, there can be no denying his presence fills that space with grace. Where grace abounds, new growth is possible. I observed a small plant springing forth in one of my beds the other day. I was weeding and almost plucked that thing up. Then it dawned on my that those leaves looked just a little bit like a squash plant. So, I determined to extend a little 'grace' to the plant to see what comes of it. It remains with an opportunity for growth because grace was extended. 

In our lives, there are times God sees that budding of new growth and then extends just a little more grace to help that growth reveal itself fully. What appears to be 'grace-buds' of new growth are given the 'extended grace' so that there begins to be a revelation of what will come of that 'bud' of new life given to us. Grace is all about the 'budding' of new life. It is the replacing of something old and not so good with something new, but not always fully developed yet. The development comes in time - time at the altar and time at his feet. Just sayin!