GRACE: THE RULEBREAKER
How do you define "grace"?
"Unmerited, undeserved favor"? So have I. Grace's brief three-word definition has become almost as common as "blessed and highly favored". We can wrap our brain around its simplicity and continue on with our day. But where is the "aha"? Where is our moment of reflection? Are we saving it for Praise and Worship on Sunday at 11?
Why are we trying to simplify grace?
It did not come easy.
Who Are You, Jesus?
Writing GOD 'n You was easily the most gut-wrenching, terrifying, and emotionally raw experience of my life. Outside of the story of my two grandmothers, the second section that held me tightest in its grip was my Prayer for the Periphery. It did so for one reason and one reason only. I was desperate to know the essence of the one who endured life and death to saved me so I went to the source.
WHO SAVED MY SOUL?
God, who is your son that would do such a thing? Tell me. Teach me. I will take whatever I can handle for now. I know greater is later but give me the JESUS I need NOW. The one at your right hand. Looking out for me today. Praying for me today. Smiling at me... today.
Jesus is salvation for all of us, but like DNA every measure of his grace to each of us is different:
But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. ~Ephesians 4:7, New International Version
He was the grace of Israel in the Old Testament:
A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him— the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord— and he will delight in the fear of the Lord. ~Isaiah 11:1-2 NIV
Grace to the Gentiles of the New Testament:
Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. ~John 1:16 NIV
He is the grace of our ancestors.
The grace of our tomorrow.
The grace we need right now.
After going through all the beautiful text about God's grace through Christ, there was one I just couldn't shake:
He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. ~Isaiah 11:4b-3a NIV
There are many facts that can be said about our Savior, but there is a truth about Jesus that should make us excited to immerse ourselves in the Christmas text one more time (or for the first time):
Our Righteous Judge has come.
The One Who Makes All Things New is here.
The Messiah King doesn't judge us by what he sees.
He doesn't penalize us based on what he heard.
He knows the truth.
"Only God can judge me." (Tupac)
Since the garden of Eden, every human being has carried the oppressive weight of sin. But as our Righteous Judge, Jesus cancels that sin on the cross and returns us to a right relationship with the Father.
He is the lifter of our heads.
He is our bridge over troubled waters.
His yoke - easy.
His burdens - light.
Child of God, righteousness makes his truth ours. Only the righteousness of the true and living God in Christ Jesus can make things right again.
His Truth About Jesus, The Truth About you
The vulnerability of Baby Jesus in a manger-like feeding trough signifies something we all need.
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. ~John 14:6 NIV
Christ provides for our souls eternal security but also protection from
the world's scrutiny,
and the law's consequences.
Welcome, Righteous Judge!
This Christmas, you have an opportunity to see the Savior through fresh eyes, to look upon him like the poor shepherds from the fields and be in awe of him like the Magi form the East. Grace rested on them as it rests on you. It's time to join the heavenly host in song about your King!
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” ~Luke 2:13-14 NIV
This is the infallible truth for your life. Because of Christ, the Righteous Judge, the way, the truth, and the life, God favors you now and forever more.
No more taking his grace for granted.
Jesus is here. He didn't come for himself. He came for you.
Get to know better the one who came to save your soul and your life.
I share with you the closing statement from my prayer. Let it be yours today:
(Jesus) I can always visit the periphery of your grace. It's all around me. But I don't want to live there. Let obedience and a desperation to know you be my compass to your center. Let me live in Jesus' name. Amen.
So much of our truth is found in grace! Remember to walk in grace and truth today!
Next week, we look at the priest Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth as we discover the grace to begin again!
Love you much. See you next week!
But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God.