Grace—it’s a word you hear tossed around all the time in Christian circles. It's the name of churches. It’s in the title of one of the most famous hymns ever written. “Amazing Grace—How Sweet The Sound.” But I wonder—how many people truly understand what is meant by the word “grace?”
Grace is a word that refers to the love God shows to human beings, ESPECIALLY when it is NOT deserved. Call it, “God’s undeserved love.” But, while we see God show grace to human beings, you rarely see human beings show grace to each other. The angry Esau who wanted to kill his brother certainly wasn’t showing grace. And we don’t either. When someone hurts us—or these days simply DISAGREES WITH US!—instead of showing grace, we let the dogs out. Some of us hide behind our computer screens and cell phones and spew the most hateful, ugly words we can come up with that in that moment of rage—words we would never dream of saying to a person’s face. Unless, of course, it’s our husband or wife—boyfriend or girlfriend—or anyone close to us for that matter. Then those hateful, ugly words are fair game—because they were WAY out of line and they REALLY hurt us! We tend to show love only when we think it’s deserved. If we don’t think it’s deserved, chances are we won’t be showing any tender love or concern.
Then you take a look at a case like that of Jacob (Genesis 25-28). Jacob not only doubted God’s promises, he deceived his blind, elderly father to get what he felt he deserved! Can you imagine how you’d feel if someone took advantage of your elderly father or mother—grandfather or grandmother—while they were living in a nursing home? How would you feel if someone came in and tricked them into writing a check that would drain their bank account? How could Jacob do such an awful to his own elderly father!? If anyone deserves the wrath of God, it’s Jacob. If anyone deserves to burn in hell, it’s Jacob! Let’s take a listen to how God deal’s with him.
“I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. ALL PEOPLES ON EARTH WILL BE BLESSED THROUGH YOU AND YOUR OFFSPRING. I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land.” And to the man to doubted his promises once before, God finishes it off with this, “I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” (Genesis 28:13-15)
It’s kind of unbelievable, isn’t it? That God would show grace to someone like Jacob? My hope is that you would put yourselves in the shoes of someone hurt by Jacob’s deceit. Would you have shown Jacob any grace. I doubt it. I wouldn’t have. And that’s the point. When God shows us his grace, in a context in which we would NEVER show grace, God teaches us something ABOUT his grace! Because His grace is NOT deserved, God can truly show it to ANYONE. That means God can show his grace to a sinner like... Jacob. That means God can show his grace to a sinner like... you. That means God can show his grace to a sinner like... me. And he does!
God told Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that “ALL PEOPLES ON EARTH WOULD BE BLESSED THROUGH THEIR OFFSPRING.” And since you are a part of “all peoples on earth” and that means you are blessed through their offspring too. And how could God see to it that “all peoples on earth would be blessed through one of their offspring better, than by using one of their offspring to open the door for grace—to open the door for undeserved love—by paying for every single sin that would ever be committed!? Jesus did just that when he gave up his innocent life for the sins of us all and then powerfully took his own life back up again when he rose from the dead. Thanks to the promise about this Savior through whom all nations would be blessed, and thanks to the fact that this Savior came just as God’s promise, God’s grace is valid!
That’s why the writer of the Psalm 73 could sing “I am always with you, O LORD; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory” It’s why the Apostle Paul could write to the Romans and to us, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” Do we deserve any of this? No. And yet to sinners like Jacob—to sinners like you—to sinners like me—God shows his grace!
Blessings on the rest of your week!