Monday, July 16, 2012

Grace-God's Promise

          The Promise, what did God promise humanity? Think about the promises God made. He made a promise with Adam and it was broken. He made a promise to Noah to never again destroy the whole earth with a flood. He made a promise with Abraham, that he would be the father of a great nation; he would be famous and a blessing to all the families of the Earth. He promised Abraham and Sarah that they would have a son. They both laughed but God kept his promise.
          God made a promise to Isaac just like he did to his father, Abraham. The promise was that his descendants would become as numerous as the stars of the sky and all the lands where they lived would be given to them. And through his descendants all the nations of the earth would be blessed. God promised.
          God made a promise to Jacob that his descendants would be as numerous as the dust of the earth and they would be spread out in all directions. Again, all the families of the earth will be blessed through Jacob and his descendants. God promised that he would be with him until he had finished giving him everything he had promised.
          God promised to be with Moses as he led the Israelites out of Egypt. He promised to care for them and protect them as they traveled. And he promised that he would lead them to a promised land that was flowing with milk and honey. Once they arrived at the Jordan River God promised to be with them when they entered and that he would destroy all the nations living in the land.
          God promised that even when he had banished them to live among the nations to which the Lord had exiled them that he would take them back if they would obey his commands with all their heart and soul. The Lord promised to return everything they had possessed before, all their land and all their possessions and he would make them even more prosperous than they were before. God promised that he would change their hearts and the hearts of their descendants so that they would love Him with all their heart and soul…and that they might live.
          That was grace, a gift of God. He made a promise and he kept it.  All those promises God made…they’re still in effect. The reason being is that we are those descendants God told Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob about. 
          Since we’ve been adopted into the family of God we are joint heirs with God’s chosen people from way back when. And it’s all because of God’s grace. It’s all because God made a promise and he’s keeping it. It’s all because God is compassionate, loving, gracious and very patient.
          God is gracious and keeps his promises but we aren’t always so gracious and, to be honest, we don’t always keep our promises. And sometimes we make promises that we haven’t thought through. We feel an obligation to keep them but sometimes, like Herod, they get us into a spot we wished we weren’t in.
          But thank God, he promised that he would be gracious toward his children. No one knew exactly what God would do that or how everyone just knew that God kept his promises.
          And then after many, many generations the promise begins to be fulfilled in the life of Jesus the Christ, who lived and died and rose again just so we could receive God’s grace of forgiveness and eternal life.
          What are we to do with something like that? What are we supposed to do with this gift of grace? There’s no way anyone could ever pay for this gift. So, what are we to do?
          Peter tells us in his epistle that we are…“living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple…you are a chosen people…royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession.” And because of that Peter says, “…you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.” “…all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it.”
          So, what do we do when we’ve received a gift that is beyond putting a price on? Well, what do you do when and if you receive a gift that you never imagined in your wildest dreams you’d ever have?
          They would probably be shouts of joy, tears of happiness, hugs, laughter, kisses, and a whole lot of unbelief. The emotions felt when receiving a gift like that are akin to worship.
          So, we can let God know how much we appreciate his gift of grace by worshipping him with all our might, by singing with all our might, dancing with all our might like David, praying with all our might, and serving him as he demonstrated to us in Jesus’ life, trusting in him to provide everything we need when we have nothing but our hearts and souls to give him.
          We can’t ever repay him for this gift of grace but we can love him with all that we are and we can serve him by showing others how much he loves them.
          God’s grace was promised to us a long, long time ago and he is still keeping his promise. We, the descendants of his chosen people, are still receiving his grace because God always keeps his promises.
          Thanks be to God for his grace. Amen.

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