What would we do without God’s grace? Yes, obedience follows on our part, but without His unearned favor, we would lose out on His love, His freedom from sin and bondage, and His incomparable peace and joy. We are blessed, indeed.
Eternal Perspectives by Sally Bair
My computer messed up again. It wasn’t doing what it was supposed to do. I admit, most times it messes up because of operator error. But not all times. When it errs on its own, I feel like throwing it out and starting with a new one. I mumble and complain, wanting to give up on it.
We mess up sometimes, too, some more than others. I know a man who became a hard-core drug addict, thief and Satan worshiper. His life and marriage appeared to be doomed. Many people probably believed his was a hopeless case and he’d end up going straight to hell. But God in His mercy and grace brought him to saving faith. Today he is a pastor who ministers especially to others who are caught in the same kind of seemingly hopeless, unredeemable cycle.
We may know of others who appear to be beyond help and unsalvageable. The chronic alcoholic. The addicted gambler. The sex offender. Even the serial killer. They all appear to be outside the realm of redemption. Some believe in the worst punishment possible for such offenders because “they will never change.”
The Gospel of Jesus Christ shows us otherwise. Over and over, Jesus taught that we should love even the worst offender. God’s Word offers hope for the hopeless, without exclusion. “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:4)
All men? Too often our prejudices contradict God’s grace. We tend to give up on people and lack patience with those who are evil. But God doesn’t.
The prophet, Jonah, ran away from God because he didn’t want to obey Him by preaching to the evil people in Ninevah. Perhaps he was afraid of the Ninevites. More likely, he felt they didn’t deserve to be rescued from their noted, unrelenting wickedness. He didn’t want God to change His mind and give them a chance to repent.
After being spit out of a whale’s mouth, Jonah did go to preach repentance to the Ninevites. Surprised because the undeserving Ninevites repented, Jonah sulked. In the end, however, he realized that God offers grace to all of us—the good and the bad.
Lord, we thank You for being “merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.” (Psalm 103:8) As you grace us with forgiveness and blessing, may we be gracious to everyone we meet, including the least deserving. In Jesus’ name, amen.