Posted by: The Simple Guy | September 6, 2010

God’s Grace Revisited:

We have been discussing God’s grace in this previous post.

Thought I would encapsulate some of the things I have been thinking in this regard:

My thesis statement would be to say that I believe God’s grace is the other centered aspect of his nature that is seen in His extravagance.  (A slight twist on Jim Swindle’s point made in the last post comments section.)

First, I must answer the question of grace’s origin.  Is it from man, or is it a part of God’s nature?  So far I think there has been pretty much unanimous agreement that grace comes from God, and most of us would say it is not outside of His nature, but part of His nature.

I believe this aspect of His nature can be more fully understood when we remember we are dealing with a Trinity, not one solitary entity, but 3 in eternal union with each other.  Jesus is motivated by His love for the Father and the Spirit, and each of them by their love for each other.  All 3 are other centered.

I would say then that it must follow that grace is unchanging, as God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Since God’s grace originates in Himself, it is not necessary for those who receive it to know it at the time.  I would suggest that the first time we see God’s grace toward us is when He formed Adam with His very fingers, and breathed life into Him.  (But we can even go back further as scripture teaches that Christ was crucified before the foundation of the world)  At the point in time where God’s fingers were in the clay, Adam had no awareness, yet it was God’s grace at work.  What an honor to have had the very God of Heaven form and mold our frames with His fingers!   David uses very similar language in Psalm 139:13.  This is not to say that we are not responsible to “know” God’s grace.  As Carolyn pointed out, we all know God’s grace, and in Romans chapters 1, 2, and 3 we find that all are without excuse.  I am only saying that God’s grace precedes our knowledge of it.

I would compare God’s grace to a river, that starts at one point in the mountains (in this case, His very being,) and is moving in a direction.  The same river goes through different scenery and accomplishes different tasks at the same time.  It supplies the fisherman, the farmer, and the power plant at the dam.  In one place it is steep and cascades over waterfalls, at another it is wide and flat going through meadows and watering fields.  But it is the same river.  God’s grace is eternal and far-reaching, but as the song says, it “reaches me!”

God’s grace is seen all through creation in Genesis 1 and 2.  This extravagance is still on display today.  Look at how He continues to care for each of us, whether we worship or not.  The rain falls on the just and the unjust.  When God made flowers, he didn’t just make one kind, but he made an over abundant extravagance of beauty.  This for all of his creatures, not just those who come to Him.  To take it one step further, 2 Cor 5:19 says He reconciled the world to Himself.  But not all will be saved.  Again the extravagance.  (I wonder if the one who bought the field in the parable is Christ, who paid for it all, for the sake of the treasure buried within – in this case His glory, but that’s another post for another time 🙂  )

His grace is seen in the redemption story that starts in Genesis 3.  A theme that winds through all of Scripture.  We see it as God covered Adam and Eve with skins, we see it as God provided escape for Noah, we see it when God walks through the blood in Abram’s place. We see it when God provided for Joseph, and then Joseph’s family.  We see it as God prepared Moses, and then through Moses saves the children of Israel from Egypt.  The theme continues throughout all of Scripture.  We see it as Jesus loves Judas to the end, as Jim pointed out. Jesus is the ultimate personification of God’s grace, as well as all of His divine attributes.  But this did not start in Bethlehem, it did not “start” at all, because He is eternal without beginning or end.

The plot thickens when we read Romans 5:5 which says that God’s love is poured out in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given to us.  In Philippians 2:13 we see that it is God who works in us both to will, and to do according to His pleasure.  In Colossians 1 we read of the “mystery” which is Christ in us, the hope of glory.  Colossians 2 says that in Him (Christ) dwell the fullness of the God in bodily form, and then it says we are filled up in Him.

I think that is what it means to be partakers of His grace.  God’s spirit moves in His children to give them His passions.   We finally see outside of our own depraved desires, and begin to desire what He desires.  His kindness begins to work in us.  His grace didn’t change, but now we can “carry the water too” so to speak.  It is by this same grace that we are saved through faith, and that not of ourselves, not of works so that no one can boast.

Who ever is “in Christ” is a new creature (new desires, new passions, new life).  Old things pass away, behold all has become new.  Yes, any “new creation” knows grace.  Not  exhaustively, that will never happen.  But we know it with intimacy.  My children don’t begin to understand who Dad is and what Dad does for them.  Often times Dad’s care for them happens when they sleep.  But they all know Dad.  Even this illustration is by design part of God’s grace, as He designed the family to reflect Himself.

Just my rambling thoughts.  What do you think?

Craig

(no Simple Guy post is complete without a video)

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Responses

  1. […] s “grace” again.  (I’ve blogged before about how I struggle with this word)  My current definition of God’s grace is “that part of Him which cause Him to be kind toward those who do not deserve […]


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