Wading through the swamp with some legalists once again, I am struck by the fact that I still seem to have some survivor’s guilt, as in I feel really bad for those who apparently have never met His grace and mercy. How can one even be a Christian without fully feeling, knowing, experiencing, His amazing grace? I truly don’t get it. How does that even go down? I just picked up this book of laws and since I hate shellfish anyway, I decided to become a Christian? Or is it, I really liked Charlton Heston as Moses, so I’ve decided t0 join his tribe?
Surely people realize that following Jesus Christ is actually a spiritual practice, one might even say, a supernatural experience? Transformative? A relationship? A walk? See, there’s this thing called grace…..?
Sigh. God’s grace and mercy is perfect, mine is a bit short-tempered.
Grace, mercy, redemption, sacrificial love, forgiveness, the work done on the cross, kind of a critical component of following the One who hung there on our behalf? Yes? Apparently not everyone agrees. Astounding.
I lack the words to explain grace properly, I cannot even describe the mercy and love our Father has for us beyond declaring Him to be exceedingly, abundantly good. “Good,” being such a tiny little word that doesn’t even begin to describe His majesty, His glory, His welcoming arms. I am absolutely bedazzled by how beautiful He is, so bedazzled, I’m left gasping out silly little words like, “beautiful” and “good,” words that just fall so flat.
I realize too that I can never hope to show anyone what grace is truly like, that is work that only God can do, that must involve the Holy Spirit. Grace is unmerited favor, His sacrificial love, complete forgiveness, something that once received you are just compelled to extend to others. “Others” being the least of these, including people you despise, lawbreakers, sinners…liberals. Ha, yes even them! Discernment is all well and good, as is judgment where one will declare, well that person is a real nutcase..…but they are still God’s nutcase, created in His image, therefore His child, possibly His favored one for all I know.
Without love we are nothing, just clanging symbols, resounding gongs. Even the demons know scripture and the law. Did God really say….? Heck they probably know scripture better than we do. The spirit and intent of the law is always far more important than 175 pages regulating cabbages, and a huge part of “the law” involves mercy and grace. I once was lost but now I’m found?? Lord, please grant them the same mercy and forgiveness you’ve always shown me? I know that what I am able to extend to others I will receive in equal measure?
What is it about legalism that appeals to people so much? That’s a genuine question, I really don’t get it. The truth is I’ve been far too busy rejoicing in the fact that justice will not prevail in my case, that God has reached down and plucked me right out of the courtroom.
Now tell me that is not exceedingly, abundantly, good.