History of Redemption: Blog Post 20
“For I am the LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin. The Law came in so that transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” - Exodus 34:6-7 (ESV); Romans 5:20-21 (NASB). Do you ever feel like sin has a hold on you that you cannot break free from? Do you sometimes feel like you are so broken, that God cannot forgive you? Do you some days feel like throwing in the towel and ceding victory to your greed, your lust, your addiction, your anger, or your lack of faith? Please take encouragement from God's word today, "where sin increased, grace abounded all the more". You may be the most wretched miserable sinner you know, but do not demean God's grace by ever thinking that your sin is greater than His grace. It is not. God's grace reigns triumphant!
Remember some of the "heros" of the bible. Remember David, an adulterer and a murderer. Remember Jonah, that trembling coward. Remember Paul, a murderer of Christians! All sinners yes, but sinners saved by God's grace. You too, if you have confessed faith in Him (even if that faith seems like a mustard seed) are a sinner saved by grace. For "through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God" (Romans 5:2).
This passage from Exodus tells us of God's rich and beautiful attributes, His mercy, His steadfast love, His faithfulness. And the culmination of this is that He is a God "forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin". He is a God of grace. We cannot keep God's law. No one except the Son of God Himself, Jesus Christ, could keep God's law. But, God's grace reigns! His grace is victorious over our sin! His grace reigns "through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord"!
I confess that I have days when I feel like I am making no progress on my battle against sin. I confess that many days, I am weak, and faithless and joyless. I confess that there are days when I ask myself how I "slipped through the cracks" to become an elder of a church. And it is on those days that I need to remember these words, that "where sin increased, grace abounded all the more". Yes, my sin is the problem, and yes, God's grace is the answer.
All this is not to say that we get to just sit back now and continue in our sin because of God's grace. We are indeed called to fight. But remember, the battle has already been won. Deitrich Bonhoeffer, the famous German theologian, in his book The Cost of Discipleship, explains the difference between cheap grace and costly grace. "Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline. Communion without confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ." On the other hand, costly grace "confronts us as a gracious call to follow Jesus, it comes as a word of forgiveness to the broken spirit and the contrite heart. It is costly because it compels a man to submit to the yoke of Christ and follow him; it is grace because Jesus says: "My yoke is easy and my burden is light."
We, as followers of Christ, need to live in light of the triumph of God's grace over the sin of our lives. We then need to remember the cost that was paid by Jesus for this grace. Let us fight for costly grace, and let us rejoice in it's victory over our sin.
Gracious Father, You are indeed merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. We praise You God for Your perfect law, which points us to our need for a Savior, and we praise You God, for sending Your Son, Jesus Christ, to be that Savior, to atone for our sins, and to invite us into Your grace, in which we now stand. Let your people today rejoice in the hope of the glory of God!
“Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace” (Romans 6:12-14).