The Realm of Grace - Philip Yancey



Tuesday, August 13 2019

 

Sometimes you open your Email inbox, see an interesting-looking message, open it up, read it – and the words hit you right between the eyes, right?

 

The author of the biblical letter to the Hebrews wrote it this way: “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (4:12)

 

God Himself knows and speaks of the incredible preciseness and power of His words: “Is not my word like fire, declares the Lord, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?” (Jeremiah 23:29)

 

So… this morning I opened my Email inbox, saw an interesting-looking Devotionals Daily message, opened it up, read it – and felt like a dagger had gone through my heart.

 

The reading was from Philip Yancey’s now older book entitled What’s So Amazing About Grace? – an excerpt called “The New Math of Grace”.

 

 

After retelling 4 different New Testament stories about the “atrocious mathematics of the gospel”…

 

- The Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard, from Matthew (20:1-16)

- The Parable of the Widow’s Offering, from Mark (12:41-44)

- The Parable of the Lost Sheep, from Luke (15:1-7)

- The Story of Mary anointing Jesus at Bethany, from John (12:1-8)

 

… Yancey writes:

 

“God dispenses gifts, not wages. None of us gets paid according to merit, for none of us comes close to satisfying God’s requirements for a perfect life. If paid on the basis of fairness, we would all end up in hell…

 

Grace cannot be reduced to generally accepted accounting principles. In the bottom-line realm of ungrace, some workers deserve more than others. In the realm of grace, the word deserve does not even apply…

 

Jesus… calls us to step completely outside our tit-for-tat world of ungrace and enter into God’s realm of infinite grace.”

 

God gifts me with unmerited grace, unmerited forgiveness, unmerited life, abundant and eternal.

 

How can I not extend that same undeserved grace, that same undeserved forgiveness, that same opportunity to live abundantly and eternally to others?

 

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith –

and this is not from yourselves,

it is the gift of God.”

(Ephesians 2:8)

 

Grace: a grace that has saved me – that does not depend on me – completely unmerited, totally undeserved – God’s gift to me.

 

“And all are justified freely by his grace

through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”

(Romans 3:24)

 

Grace: absolutely free – that justifies everyone – through Jesus’ redemption on the cross.

 

“[God] has saved us and called us to a holy life –

not because of anything we have done

but because of his own purpose and grace.

This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time.”

(2 Timothy 1:9)

 

Grace: that has saved us and that calls us to holy living – not because of anything we have done to earn it – simply given to us freely in Jesus.

 

God invites me – every day and forever – to enter into and to abide in His realm of infinite, unmerited grace.

 

How can I not allow and give others the same opportunity?

 

Sigh…

 

God’s Word: a fire in my soul – a hammer that breaks its hardness into pieces – a living two-edged sword that pierces and divides and discerns my deepest heart. 

 

Challenging me to receive undeserved grace – challenging me to extend undeserved grace.

 

Today. Every day. To all.  

 



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