For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
The Joy Of Grace
In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve lived in peaceful harmony with God without the stain of sin, wickedness, and moral corruption. Moses describes the world of the garden as a place of pure innocence where both Adam and Eve were naked and not ashamed. The sound of God walking in the garden was a comforting feeling for the man and woman. There was nothing to fear, no threat of death, and no sorrow. And then the serpent spoke to Eve, and the wiles of the devil deceived her heart; the woman took the forbidden fruit propelling humanity into the pits of spiritual darkness.
There were only two people in the world when sin opened its chasm of eternal misery. No children were there, no nations had begun, and there was no disease. It could have been a simple solution to destroy what He so easily created and start anew. Adam and Eve failed God, and the Lord had to power to raise up a new creation from the stones of the earth. It was within the power of God to turn back the pages of time and intercede before Satan did his evil deed. Adam and Eve could have been left alone in their own misery. Instead of casting them from the garden, the Lord could have allowed them to remain and eat of the tree of life. Let the rebellious creation live forever and wallow in their misery. Did God have to be concerned about something He created for His glory and reward them for disobeying Him? Adam and Eve were trifling specks of dust that did not amount to anything worth saving.
God cast the man and woman from the garden. He watched as children were born and the world began to fill with people. Evil entered the hearts of men like Cain, who killed his brother, Abel. Murder became rampant. Hearts turned cold and dark in the putridity of wickedness. It was not long before God saw the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil. As the Lord gazed upon the spread of evil in the heart of humanity, He saw one man that merited His grace. Noah was a righteous man and, along with his wife, sons, and their wives, received the greatest gift man has ever known – grace. The Lord came to Noah and told him the world would be destroyed. Evil had so filled the world that it required God’s wrath to intervene. Not knowing how to save himself, Noah was told by God of the divine plan for salvation. He could never have imagined how to find help in the face of such terrible destruction. God told Noah to build an ark, and he and his family would be saved. Grace.
Humanity continued to spiral into darkness. The people of Israel came from the loins of Abraham as a stopgap against the transgression of the human heart. Through the promise of the Seed in the Garden of Eden and a promise made to Abraham, God set forth the final solution for sin. In the fullness of time, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, to save sinful man. Jesus Christ died for the sins of all humanity to express the fullness of the grace of God. All men sin and deserve to die. Jesus never sinned and freely died to give life. Grace is Jesus on the cross. The love of God is how grace offers men the hope of eternal life when nothing in the heart of man deserves life. There are no righteous, innocent, justified, and holy men who stand before God without the blood of Jesus. Everyone sins and deserves the wrath of God – everyone.
Grace is knowing that salvation comes by the kindness and love of God alone. There is nothing deserving in the nature of any man or woman that can explain the death of Jesus, God’s only begotten Son. I stand before God guilty of killing Jesus Christ, and I deserve death, eternal death, and eternal darkness and separation. There is nothing I have done that should allow for my salvation. From the pits of darkness comes the beacon of light, Jesus Christ, who shines His light of grace on a condemned man. I have been saved by grace, and it is nothing I have done that deserves His mercy. Adam and Eve did not deserve it. The world does not deserve it. You and I don’t deserve it. God’s grace is without measure.
God has told us of His coming wrath, and we cannot change that. Jesus Christ died to offer a way of salvation that we cannot change. Grace is found in the measure of God’s love desiring to save men and telling them how to save themselves. The true nature of grace is not realized until one believes in the word of God (wrath is coming) and obeys the will of the Father. Salvation is not by grace alone. Noah was not saved by grace only or faith only. He obeyed the word of the Lord. Men are justified by works and not by faith only. The tragedy of grace is that it is refused by those who will not do what God says. God offers hope for hopeless hearts. Come to the grace of God, embrace His love, and obey His word. Grace.