Sunday, February 2, 2014

extended grace

If we count ourselves among those who have been called out, set apart, and free recipients of the sovereign grace of God, then how can we choose to not extend that same grace to all whom we come into contact with in our world? 

I'm thinking over this question tonight, and it worries me to see the people of God, who are so willing to claim, and at times, presume upon the grace of God, and yet who do not show this grace to those in our culture and society who need to experience it. 

I am not speaking to the condoning of sin, but rather to the condemning of people for their sins. We too were yet sinners when Christ died for us, we too were dead in our trespasses apart from saving faith. We too struggled with sins of pride, sexual immorality, greed, and so on, and so on. And it's not like we accomplished anything of ourselves to be pardoned for those sins... we were simply slaves to the shared sins of ALL mankind who have now been called out of that slavery by the singular, powerful, effectual calling of our risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And as such have been loosed from our shackles of sin to join into the family of God as co-heirs of the glorious riches of Christ, as a father lavishes his son with the inheritance of his wealth. 

As recipients of this grace, and the inherited, imputed righteousness that bears out with all who believe, we know that we have done nothing to earn favor with God. There is nothing that separates us, who have been saved, from those who still sit under the wrath and judgement of a holy God except for His calling us, by name and raising us up from the depths of our sins. And because we are able to see this truth, we need to be able to stand with those who still are enslaved by this broken and fallen world, and share with them the beauty and love of the One true God, and allow His glory to shine through us that through us, He might call their name, regardless of who they are, regardless of the filthiness of their sins, and that the light of the gospel might shine brightly forth in their heart, that they might, under the power of Christ alone, repent of their sin and join with us in the family of God. 

How dare we tread on the cross of Christ to think that we deserve a say in who does or does not receive the opportunity to experience the grace that was given to us. 

I don't pretend to believe that I succeed in this at all either, but I do know that through the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit active with the depths of my soul, that each day Christ is interceding on my behalf that I might become more like Himself, and that I may be more able to look beyond a person's sins (that I only recognize because their scars are present in my life, when I gaze upon the mirror of my past) and that because of that, I can extend grace. 

Brothers and sisters in Christ, if you claim to be in this family, extend grace...

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