Meditations on Tasting Grace
These days, simple Gospel truths have been wrecking me day by day. One day it was theoretically justification, and today it was the reality of grace within that. I had forgotten how grace tasted, how grace felt, how true grace is shown and received.
How grace is shown requires that a law be broken. There has to be a right and a wrong, a good and a bad in our world of relative truths. Our conscience must be broken by what we did wrong according to the Word of God and the fear must be felt that we deserve punishment. We deserve our financial blessings to be taken away, our friendships to be destroyed. When we violate the law of God - when we lie, envy, lust, gossip - we are not only deserving the consequences of those sins but also of death and hell.
And so - how “good” does my day feel in all that I’m doing good until at that one point, where I slip up according to the Word of God and my conscience mortifies my soul in my thoughts. Like a kid with his head down about to confess to his parents that he had been stealing money out of his mother’s purse and gambled it away to the neighborhood kid, the guilt condemns because a law has been broken. At this point, the child fears the worst - he knows he has done wrong and deserves an extreme punishment for his heinous crime. At this point, the parents could do a number of things:
1 - Tell the child that what he did wasn’t really wrong - stealing isn’t a sin. Then the consequence would that the child would grow feeling like stealing isn’t that bad - and negative consequences for society follow. (This is what our culture does by calling good evil and evil good - not acknowledging that some things defined by the Bible are sin and some are not.)
2 - Tell the child what he did was wrong, but think that it wasn’t that big of a deal because the parents have a lot of money anyway, and send the child off scot-free without a correcting word but a loving “that’s okay honey, just don’t do it again”. (This is what I feel like what most of us do when someone sins against us in the church- we try to be the “bigger man or woman” and think - okay, you might’ve sinned against me and you confessed - but its okay it doesn’t affect me because I’m spiritually mature and it didn’t hurt my feelings, so go ahead and live your life and I’ll pardon you from a place of superiority. Or if someone hurts us in the church and they don’t confess to us, we will just take the sin with an air of self-righteousness as if its okay because we’re better).
3 - Or the only way to show grace, is something that I can only think and feel about in terms of an illustration - where a parent acknowledges the weight of the sin that the child commits in terms of the damage it brings to himself and others and yet is so focused on the well-being of the child and so loves the child that he or she says “its okay, you did a really bad thing, but I love you, and I’ll help clean up the mess, and I’ll take the hit financially in my own pocket, and I’ll help you to learn how to not steal because you don’t have to - because if you just asked me, I would provide what you really really need and not what you think you need for happiness.
And that’s how grace is felt, and how grace tastes - and it tastes so good. Because we’re human, we’ve sinned, and if we believe that Jesus Christ has died for our sins and risen again to give us new life to defeat sin - we will still fall into sin every single day and need grace every day. To know this grace we need to know the Law - to know what’s right and what’s wrong - but to also know the lawgiver - and his disposition towards us in Christ.
And that’s my ramble, because today God showed me another aspect of my sin, and thus another aspect of my need for Him, and another aspect of how much I don’t deserve anything, but because of His grace I’ve been given everything because He loves and that what He started in this rough marble he’ll bring to completion to something finer than what Michaelangelo could sculpt himself ~