Summary: I could really jump with joy and fall in love again with God to know the fascinating aspect of His grace. Never I thought that as I become more acquainted with it, I could even jump higher with GREATER joy!
If we really know how the Sovereign God exercises grace, we will truly be amazed!
After our denomination changed many of its teachings and began to recommend other Christian books, the first one I read was Transforming Grace by Jerry Bridges. Grace is defined in that book as “God’s free and unmerited favor shown to guilty sinners who deserve only judgment. It is the love of God shown to the unlovely. It is God reaching downward to people who are in rebellion against Him.”
In his book The Grace Awakening, Chuck Swindoll wrote: “To show grace is to extend favor or kindness to one who doesn’t deserve it and can never earn it. . . Favor is being extended simply out of the goodness of the heart of the giver.”
Mr. Swindoll stated further, “It is absolutely and totally free. You will never be asked to pay it back. You couldn’t even if you tried.”
Our denomination did not explain it before that way and for me it was totally new. I could really jump with joy and fall in love again with God to know this fascinating aspect of His character. Never I thought that as I become more acquainted with His grace, I could even jump higher with joy!
Let’s go to God’s Word and see how God really illustrated grace. Let us use the same Scripture mentioned by Mr. Bridges in his book Transforming Grace -- the 9th chapter of 2 Samuel.
We read in verse 3: “The king asked, ‘Is there no one still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show God’s kindness?’” King David was determining to whom he can show the favor – “… of the house of Saul to whom I can show God’s kindness.”
God, as the conveyor of grace, is the One who chooses to whom He will grant the favor. We cannot direct Him or should not even think that He ought to give the same favor to everyone.
GOD CHOOSES TO WHOM THE FAVOR WILL BE GRANTED. And some of us will object to that. We tend to define grace in human terms and even believe that God will conform with our own definition. The unconverted will say, “Everyone should have an equal treatment from God!” And there are even sons of the kingdom who will “sing out” with the same “tune” of the elder son in Luke 15: “`Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. . .” (verse 29.)
Next, see verse 4 of 2 Samuel, chapter 9: “’Where is he?’ the king asked.” David sought for the recipient of the favor (Mephibosheth), just what the father was doing in Luke 15, as he was always searching the horizon for his son. So when his son returned, the father was able to see his son at once: “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him” (verse 20).
When God exercises grace, He is the One who seeks for the recipient. He does not need to wait for someone to request before He could extend His grace. HE SEEKS WHOM HE WILL GRANT THE FAVOR.
Then, in verse 7, David told Mephibosheth, “Don’t be afraid . . .for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table.”
David did not just offer the favor to Mephibosheth! He gave it to him: “Then the king summoned Ziba, Saul’s servant, and said to him, ‘I have given your master’s grandson everything that belonged to Saul and his family. You and your sons and your servants are to farm the land for him and bring in the crops, so that your master’s grandson may be provided for. And Mephibosheth, grandson of your master, will always eat at my table."
Unfortunately, many teachers of grace failed to emphasize or even see this point. When God practices grace, He does not just offer the favor. He gives it and He sees to it that the favor is delivered! (Is there any Bible scholar who can help to pursue this deeper or preacher who can proclaim this aspect of grace?)
Consider also how the father in Luke 15 gave the favor to his son: “But the father said to his servants, `Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate…’” (verses 22-23.)