Grace and Faith

Here is a simple explanation for us all, to help us to get our heads around the reality of Grace and Faith.  Let us tell a “Parable.”  Men will understand this well, you get up late as you over-slept from a previous hard day, quickly up showered and rush downstairs for breakfast, which is fortunately already on the table, you eat quickly, grab your lunch box off the counter next to the line-up of the children’s brightly coloured ones, and out the door, gone, a hectic day flies by, and on the way home a traffic accident adds to the endless woes, you roll through the door to “Sub–Arctic” reception.  Half pleasantries, but your brain is racing to try to figure out what’s wrong.  Your wife then looks at you with feet firmly planted, hands on her hips, and a look on her face that tells you that you’re dead meat and she is about to sentence you.

“What day is it?” So you look at your watch, and think, well it is Thursday, “What is the Date?” Once more the watch tells you that it is 6:14pm, Thursday the 22nd.  That blank look upon your face slowly fades from confusion to a scary reality, it is your “Wife’s Birthday” and you have completely forgotten this special and sacred day for the one you treasure above all else.  Profuse grovelling and repentance, and you are finally off the hook, your wife has just extended to you “Unconditional Grace,” you certainly do not deserve it, you definitely have not earned it, but it has been graciously extended to you in love.

Then she extends her arms to forgivingly hug you, but you notice in her hand is the big chef’s knife that she has been using to chop up the vegetables for stir-fry for supper, now you must practice “Unconditional Faith.”  You must believe that the Grace offered means that you are fully restored and that it is safe to hug and to embrace, in spite of that big knife and the fear that it might shortly come sailing into your exposed back and your last breath is micro-seconds away.  “Faith” is much stronger than fear, Grace has just been offered, unconditionally, so Faith conquers fear, the knife is quickly laid on the counter behind you with a distinctive clunk, and two warm forgiving arms enfold you, you hold her right back, encircling her in your arms of gratitude, love and adoration for what you have just received, you did nothing to deserve it, you deserved judgement and punishment, but instead you are receiving compassion and unconditional love, restoration to a relationship that has been foolishly almost lost, but now is fully restored.

Over her head you spy some little ones with faces aglow with wonderment and joy, mummy and daddy are hugging, you both bend your knees, and upon your knees open two arms and the wee ones fly across the floor and the whole family is restored and harmony and love floods through the house.  After a long enduring hug, daddy speaks, “I love all of you so very much,” and strong hugs are the unspoken reply that flows through the family, we all are now soaking in the love of each other and giving back faster than receiving.  “Let’s get dinner going,” says daddy, and with squeals of delight all head to the kitchen, and together, Mummy’s Birthday meal is quickly prepared, a simple cup-cake with a candle works wonders, and is enthusiastically blown out, all lost is now restored.  Does this help you to understand more fully what Grace and Faith really are?   

If you look at, and then re-read Isaiah Chapter 53, you will understand “Grace” so much more deeply, but let us quote the critical verse, Isaiah 53:6 “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Revelation 13:8c “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”  Jesus was marked as the Sacrifice for Sin, way back before there ever was such a thing as Sin.  So what did God do, he laid our punishment upon his precious innocent son. 

In our Parable, God is represented as the long suffering, jilted and patient caring Wife, we are the forgetful Husband who deserves severity, so instead of punishing us, God instead turned and slew his only and beloved son, Jesus Christ, who bore our punishment.  Just ask Abraham what that felt like, there lay his only son on the sacrificial altar, and as the death blow of the knife came sailing down, heavenly intervention stepped in, just ask Isaac, he alone really understood what salvation cost as he stood in his father’s close embrace watching the ram die in his place, his place. 

Quote; “Divine grace is the great element of saving power; without it all human effort is unavailing.  Are you in Christ? Not if you do not acknowledge yourselves erring, helpless, condemned sinners. Not if you are exalting and glorifying self. If there is any good in you, it is wholly attributable to the mercy of a compassionate Saviour. Your birth, your reputation, your wealth, your talents, your virtues, your piety, your philanthropy, or anything else in you or connected with you, will not form a bond of union between your soul and Christ. Your connection with the church, the manner in which your brethren regard you, will be of no avail unless you believe in Christ. It is not enough to believe about Him; you must believe in Him. You must rely wholly upon His saving grace.” {FLB 94} 

Quote; “Now I want you to consider this and put away your distrust, your worrying, your fears. Look away from yourself to Jesus; look away from your family to Jesus. God has spoken to you words of encouragement; grasp them, act upon them, walk by faith, and not by sight. Hebrews 11:1 “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” {DG 145}  Grace is unmerited favour with God, Faith is graciously accepting that Heavenly Grace, you need to accept both right now.