Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Grace is Amazing

When love and justice collide, the product is grace. And the place of this collision is the Cross. There is a fundamental problem here that needs to be solved. There needs to be a moral center to the universe. A basis for saying what is good and what bad. And for believing that good deserves to be rewarded and evil deserves to be punished. God is that moral center (Romans 2:16; Matthew 25:31-46; 1 Timothy 5:24,25). But justice without love is not truly good. It leads to a brittle and austere kind of morality that looks down with contempt on others. And if God had that kind of attitude we, being sinners (Romans 3:23; Isaiah 64:6; Jeremiah 17:9), could not avoid ending up under certain judgment (Romans 6:23; Hebrews 9:27;  Revelation 20:11-15).

But God, being love, was not willing to simply leave the situation that way, but sent His Son to save us (1 John 4:8-10; Romans 5:6-8; John 3:14-18). He did this by paying the price for our sins so we could be forgiven (Romans 3:24-32; 1 Peter 2:24,25; Colossians 2:13,14). This is important, because it upholds the principle of morality while pardoning the offender. And it manages to do both by being very specific in what it does. This will not work with just generalized benevolence. Either it will do too little, leaving severity with only a tinge of mercy. Or it can become simply indulgence, which does not uphold any moral principles.

But the concept of paying the price allows God to offer pardon freely, based on faith in Christ (Ephesians 2:8,9; Romans 4:4,5; Philippians 3:9). However, it still can call us to a life of growth in following Christ (Titus 2:11-14; Philippians 3:12-16; Hebrews 12:1,2), without watering down the standard (Matthew 5:48; James 2:10; 4:17). Then it turns around and gives us the power to make that change (2 Corinthians 3:18; 2 Peter 1:3; Colossians 1:29), based on our response to His love for us (1 John 4:19; 2 Corinthians 5:14,15; Romans 12:1,2). It  even makes faith possible by reaching out to us (John 6:44; Acts 16:14; 13:48), who would not, if left to ourselves, come to Him (Romans 3:11; 7:18; 8:8). This is grace (Romans 11:6; Galatians 2:21; Titus 3:5,6). It reaches out to sinful women (Luke 7:36-50; John 4:7-26), tax collectors (Matthew 9:9-13; Luke 19:1-10), dying thieves (Luke 23:39-43), and persecutors (1 Corinthians 15:9). It is the answer to the question of how sinners can be pardoned in a black-and-white universe. It is what we need. 

No comments:

Post a Comment