13 Sep GRACE
In Exodus 33:18, Moses boldly asks God, “show me your glory.” God graciously agrees, but He is so holy, that Moses has to hide behind a rock, and he’s only allowed to see God’s back as He passes by and proclaims His name. God introduces Himself to Moses as “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.” (Exodus 34:6-7a) In the Bible, order is an indicator of importance, and God leads here with compassion, grace and love. But His full glory was too much for human eyes to see.
Fast forward to the New Testament, “and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth…For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.” (John 1:14,16) “Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.” (Colossians 1:15) The glory of God is no longer hidden! We are able to see the glory through His Son, and it’s no surprise that it mirrors that first introduction to Moses – the emphasis is on His grace.
So if grace is one of the self-proclaimed, most defining traits of God, we would do well to chase this concept until we grasp it, love it, and need it. According to the Moody Handbook of Theology, “Grace may be defined as the unmerited or undeserving favor of God to those who are under condemnation.” When my dad tells his testimony, he says “I had to get lost before I could get saved.” The first step to receiving grace is realizing a deep need for it. If God were full of justice, fairness and truth, without the weighty balance of grace, we wouldn’t stand a chance. We would be like Moses, hiding behind a rock, unable to come close to the glory of God.
I was in a meeting a couple of weeks ago where someone posed a question based off of 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” The question was “why is it just for God to forgive our sins?” The fair thing to do would be to punish us for our sins, right? We all understand consequences. It’s the price you pay for a wrong turn. It’s the way the world works, and it’s only fair. But this verse says that God is acting out of justice when He forgives us. The answer to the question is “Jesus.” It’s only fair for God to forgive our sins because our debt has already been paid by Jesus. That is grace!
To know Jesus is to know grace.
He is the Rock that we can hide behind, ushering us into the presence of God. We’re covered in Jesus’ righteousness, although completely undeserved. None of us can work our way to glory or earn forgiveness. (If Moses wasn’t worthy, I know I’m not!) The best thing about grace is that it requires nothing of us but to accept it. “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16) He’s not just offering the grace to save us, but unending, abundant grace to help us anytime we ask for it! When we go through this process of admitting our need, receiving grace, and boldly asking for more, He will graciously agree. It’s this process that defines us as Christ-followers. We will lose our quick temper, gain a genuine love for others, and grow in compassion and forgiveness. It’s hard to hang onto resentment or to think critically about others when we have an accurate view of the grace we’ve been given. Let’s allow this truth to sink in and fill us up, so that it will overflow as second-hand grace to everyone around us!