Grace be with you all. Hebrews 13, verse 25.
Once again, we find ourselves at the end. If you’ve been reading this blog for a long time, you’ve seen the ending of Hebrews, Mark, The Ten Commandments, Ruth, 1/2/3 John, James, Ecclesiastes, and Proverbs. That’s a lot of real estate to cover. Thank you so much, my friend, for reading, sharing, learning, and hopefully hearing the voice of God inside you through these thoughts.
Yet it’s time to finish up this section. After this, there are other things I’d like to cover. Next week, we’ll spend the rest of the Christmas season talking about Santa Claus and giving. After that, I believe God is leading me to walk through the “five T’s” of 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus; we’ll be walking with the Apostle Paul, so get ready to get real; Paul has that effect.
Until then, grace be with you all. Grace: that’s a concept I haven’t given nearly enough thought to even though my mom and grand-daughter are both named Grace. I used to think of grace as a quiet thing, like sunny meadows and warm tea. But that’s only part of what it is. My friend, Bill Brimer, however, calls the book of Ephesians “a grace bomb.” It’s an explosion of God’s grace in your face. An overpowering force of enormous power that can undo physical reality. Ephesians spends much of it’s time explaining God’s grace as a living, vital thing instead of just a pastoral quality.
Have you ever really thought about what grace means to you? My Random House dictionary defines grace as “a pleasing or attractive quality or endowment; favor shown in granting a delay or immunity; the freely given, unmerited favor or love of God, the influence or spirit of God operating in man; moral strength.” All those meanings (and more) for such a small word. And to think they could all blow up in your face with the peace of a rural pasture. In the context of talking about Jesus, grace means all those things, and all of them at once.
We don’t deserve it, but Jesus richly blesses us to live in His grace. We’ve done everything we can think of to tick him off, to merit His wrath, but, instead, He likes us, wants to be with us, runs to us where we are in the middle of our dysfunctions. If I listed here even a fraction of the sins I’ve done against Jesus, I wouldn’t list much before you’d see I don’t deserve His grace. I don’t even deserve air, food, water, and my beating heart. News flash: neither you you. We’re damn dirty sinners.
But we have so much more than air, food, water and life. We have love, friends, jobs, possessions, liberty, opportunity. We have each other. We have seven billion people here to live, thrive and survive with, and we GET TO tell them that this Jesus blesses us all in His grace. That He wants them to know Him, too. That’s grace. When I deserve punishment, Jesus wants love for me. When I deserve scorn, He lives in my heart. When I merit revenge, He urges peace. When I deserved to die, He ran to the cross for me and took my place. Boom!
When the writer of Hebrews had only a few words left to say, he said that he desired for God’s magnificent grace bomb to explode in the lives of his readers. “Grace be with you all” is more than just a benediction: it’s a challenge. It’s a powerful this-I-know-to-be-true amen. It’s a quiet prayer but also an artillery-packed lock and load on the front line. Grace is the quiet strength of Christ from the cross giving you peace. And grace is the raw edge of God’s knife in your hand, cutting away the scar tissue of sin to cure the flesh below. When there was nothing else to say to his friends, the writer affirmed God’s presence in their lives and called on them to realize all God does for undeserving people while sharing His saving love with those who don’t know about Him.
I’m not worthy to argue with wisdom like that. I’ll simply accept it as a gift of love from our God. Grace in your face, indeed. Back in the race for us now. Lace up your boots, pick up your gun, and let’s march.
Until next time, grace be with you all.
For further reading: Hebrews 13:25
Lord thank You for Your grace, for how You love and provide for me.