Grace is God’s unmerited favor toward sinners. However, some are critical of the Bible because it speaks of laws, sin, hell, and judgment.
We must understand that the problem is not with God but with us. As Martin Luther said, we are born “turned in” on ourselves and away from God. As was the case with the first sin in the Garden of Eden, most temptation comes from a perceived idea that God is holding out on us. Some think God gives us the law to hamper our freedom. Hampering one’s personal freedom is perhaps the greatest sin in American culture right now. What many don’t understand is that God is showing grace even with the laws he gives.
Read Psalm 1; Romans 7:7; and Matthew 5:3-10.
Think of a temptation with which you struggle. What is Satan falsely trying to convince you that you lack?
Read Psalm 119:32.
Think of three ways that the law serves as a blessing in your life.
There is grace in warning
God is jealous. By that I don’t mean how we often use the word as a synonym for envious. The Bible uses the word jealous to show that God is fiercely protective of what is his, namely, you. The fact that God is jealous of you shows his great love. What would you conclude about a husband who finds out that his wife is cheating on him and walks away, wiping his hands and saying, “Well, you win some, you lose some. That’s the way the cookie crumbles”? You would rightly conclude that the husband did not really love his wife! God did not walk away from the first sin just shrugging his shoulders, saying, “That’s the way things are.” No, his jealous love caused him to give the promise of a Savior. And now his jealous love gives us warnings when we stray from that Savior.
Read Ezekiel 33:1-11.
How do even God’s warnings show grace?
Grace’s goal is salvation
God loves us and wants what is best for us, meaning he wants to keep us for heaven.
The next time you are doing your devotional reading in the Bible, take note of how God’s goal is always to forgive, always to restore, always to save. “[God] wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). We need the law to show us our need, but God’s goal is to proclaim the gospel of your forgiveness in Jesus. “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
Read Ephesians 1:18.
Search the Scriptures, literally or from memory, and think of your two favorite passages that show that God’s goal is your salvation.
Author: David Scharf
Volume 108, Number 5
Issue: May 2021