Grace: “the freely given and unmerited favor and love of God” Unmerited: “not deserved”
I remember listening to a sermon preached by my all-time favorite pastor. He is the wisest and most authentic man I personally know. (And the fact that he’s my husband since 1983 has nothing to do with that assessment!) This particular sermon was on Grace, and he made the statement that “all of God’s Word is enveloped in grace,” and that God’s Word is even referred to in the Scriptures as “the word of His grace,” (Acts 14:3; 20:32).
And as I opened the Scriptures to Genesis 12, I was engulfed by IT: His Great Grace, this unbelievable fact of His undeserved love and favor. At this same moment the music of “Variations On The Kanon By Pachelbel” from George Winston’s piano began to play through my headphones. Immediately, thoughts of the many times I’ve sat in a church pew or lawn chair as this beautiful melody played while watching a bride being ushered down the aisle to meet her groom flooded my soul. And there IT was again! The reality of my ultimate destiny because of… His Great Grace!
Let’s Consider His Great Grace together…
By His Great Grace, the LORD appeared to Abram! Such indescribable and unmerited favor and love!
By His Great Grace, the LORD came to Abram and called him to go “to the land which I will show you;” (12:1). Abram did nothing to merit such an honor.
By His Great Grace, the LORD spoke to Abram and declared His intention to make him a great nation, to bless him, to make his name great, to bless those who bless him, and to bless all the families of the earth in him. (12:3-4). Again, Abram did nothing that deserved such immense favor from the LORD.
By His Great Grace, the LORD rescued Abram from his own feebly contrived plan of self-preservation, (12:11-13). And even though Abram’s plan made a mess out of everything, by God’s Great Grace, Abram left Egypt with a royal escort and a wealth of possessions, (12:16, 20). Such Great Grace!
How can we respond to His Great Grace?
- Let us begin with thanksgiving, every morning, noon and evening. Each and every day, all day, may we live with an attitude of continual thanks for such a gift as His Great Grace!
- “Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, for His lovingkindness is everlasting,” (Psalm 136:1).
- Respond in faith like Abram. He obeyed without having all his questions answered, “So Abram went forth as the LORD had spoken to him,” (12:5).
- Going forth with the LORD may sometimes mean staying put. Obedience may often look like “wait”. But don’t miss the outcome of faith in Abram’s life. As a result of his faith and obedience, his life was so radically changed that later, God Himself would change Abram’s name (Genesis 17:5); a picture of God’s Great Grace received by faith that completely transforms a life.
- Be intentional to remember God’s Great Grace. Abram “built an altar there to the LORD who had appeared to him,” (12:7). He ventured farther, pitched his tent again and “there he built an altar to the LORD and called upon the name of the LORD,” (12:8).
- Imagine how God’s Great Grace must have flooded his memory as Abram looked upon these altars, these memorials of the undeserved and Great Grace of God. A journal can be a great place to establish a memorial (build an altar) and there call upon the name of the LORD. When we return to our writings and read of His Great Grace, His appearing to us in the pages of His Word, His answers to our petitions prayed… our faith will be strengthened by His Great Grace!
- Remember His Great Grace is unmerited! We can do nothing to earn His Grace, so why do we so often believe we can do something to lose His Grace?
- When we sin, may we be quick to confess and quick to receive His forgiveness and Great Grace. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness,” (1 John 1:9).
- And remember, this earth is not our final destiny. Along his journey, Abram pitched his tent between Ai and Bethel. The meaning of Ai is “heap of ruins” and Bethel means “the house of God”.
- Isn’t that an accurate description of our time on earth? While on earth, we find our tent, our temporary dwelling, pitched between the ruins of a sin-filled, corrupt world on one side of eternity with our ultimate destiny, holy heaven, on the other. Let us live with our minds fixed on what’s coming! We are His bride, and the day is coming when we will be ushered down the aisle of eternity to be with Him forevermore!
“In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. 3 If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also,” (John 14:2-3).
Now, that is something to think about indeed! That is Great Grace!