While doing some devotional reading this morning, I encountered a simple thought by Randy Alcorn that focused upon the “amazing” aspect of God’s grace — something that I have been pondering since. Among many other things, he observed that… “Grace is not about God lowering His standards. It’s about God fulfilling those standards through the substitutionary suffering and sacrifice of Jesus upon the cross.”
The following are my some of my “musings” ~ Grace never ignores or violates this “truth” – the truth that God is perfectly righteous and as such, He cannot tolerate any unrighteousness (read “sin”) in His presence. Consequently, grace (the unmerited and undeserved favor of God) gave what “truth” demanded: the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus for our/my sin.
At this point, it’s important to define sin. The most common word used in the NT Scriptures for “sin” is the Greek word Hamartía, which being defined means “to miss the mark [think ‘the bullseye’] and thus forfeit the prize.” As a result/consequence, whenever we attempt to excuse or otherwise explain away our sin in terms of “I’m not the one at fault here” or “I wouldn’t have done this if you/they had not done that” or “I’m not perfect, but I’m certainly not as bad as that person/those people…” etcetera, ad infinitum, we minimize the magnitude of our sin before God and thereby minimize the greatness of God’s grace in atoning for it.
One of the cardinal elements of the gospel message is the fact that God’s grace is greater than my sin – whatever my sin might be. And yet, my ability to measure the greatness of His grace [the “amazing” aspect of His grace] depends upon my willingness to – in honesty and true humility before Him – recognize the greatness of my sin.
As Randy Alcorn concluded, “A profound awareness of the awfulness of my sin in the eyes of our perfectly holy and righteous God should move my heart to praise Him for the wonders of His truly ‘amazing’ grace.”
Something to ponder, for sure…
“And you has He made alive who were formerly dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once lived – living according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now working in the children of disobedience. Among them we all formerly lived: in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were – by our very nature – children deserving of wrath, even as the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our sin, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and has raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He (the Father) might show forth the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved, through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the free gift of God – His undeserved favor against the just merit of our sin…” (Ephesians 2:1-8, free translation)
Amazing grace how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind but now I see.
Through many dangers, toils, and snares
I have already come;
‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home. (John Newton)