6-Week Series: Against All Odds

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While grace and mercy are basically one and the same characteristic of God, we can “split hairs” and see a distinction. Vaughan Durston, Founder of “U. B. David and I’ll B. Jonathan Inc.,” shares two stories that make this clear. Remember Rolfe Barnard’s definition: “Grace is God’s favour that gives us what we do not deserve.” “Twin brothers had the chore of filling the wood box for their mother’s cook stove in the kitchen. If her wood box wasn’t full by supper time, there would be no supper for those who were supposed to fill it. A number of times the twins would be sitting at the table, hoping that mother would say it was time for supper. Instead she would walk over to the wood box, lift up the lid, and say, ‘I see my wood box isn’t full.’ She could have called out, ‘Supper time!’ but, instead, she would say, ‘I’m going to give you five minutes grace.’ The twins would quickly scramble out to the wood pile and get that wood in the wood box before supper.”

That’s grace; the twins did not deserve their supper according to Mom’s rule. [--http://www.ubdavid.org/telstory/telstory_pages/telcab5.html]. We don’t deserve eternal life, forgiveness of sins, or fellowship with God because of sin, but Jesus came to “redeem us from all wickedness” and “to purify us as His very own people.”

Durston’s second story illustrates that “while grace is getting what we don’t deserve, mercy is not getting what we do deserve-judgment, condemnation, punishment, death. Durston tells the story of Ted, a horse that received mercy. Ted was “a difficult horse.” “He was always getting into things. If the gate was open he would be out into the crops. If he could find a spot in the fence, he would be pushing his way through it.” If Ted were a human, we would call him, ‘A real sinner!’”

“One day Ted was in dire trouble because he did something he shouldn’t have done. He was stuck in the mud, up to his neck in water and mud. Only a small strip down his back was left showing. He couldn’t move and was sinking lower and lower every minute.

“Ted’s master and some neighbors got a long, heavy rope and the tractor. They threw one end of the rope around Ted’s neck and tied the other end to the tractor. By then Ted surely wanted to be saved, but it was just about too late. Slowly, the tractor inched forward and, amazingly Ted was pulled out of the mud! There he was, plastered with mud, but standing safely on solid ground. After they washed him off, he looked as good as new. Ted was saved from drowning in mud that day, even though he deserved to drown. That was mercy.” [--http://www.ubdavid.org/telstory/telstory_pages/telcab5.html].

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