Summary: What God has revealed about Himself is called His attributes. In this week's sermon I am going to review two more of His attributes: grace and omnipresence.
ATTRIBUTES OF GOD
PART3: GRACE AND OMNIPRESENCE
Online Sermon: http://www.mckeesfamily.com/?page_id=3567
What God has revealed about Himself is called His attributes. In last week’s sermon, we reviewed just two of these attributes: justice and mercy. By justice I mean that God giving humanity a lifetime to change their evil ways does not violate His unchanging desire to hold people accountable in this lifetime or the next. While forgiveness without consequences might appear to violate justice, it does not because Christ paid the price for our sins, once and for all. By mercy I mean that God is actively compassionate. Our high priest Jesus is sympathetic towards our suffering for He has not forgotten the agony He endured on the cross! While God may not remove suffering, He mercifully provides the means for us to endure it and mature in the faith. This week’s sermon is going to focus on two more attributes of God: grace and omnipresence.
ATTRIBUTE 6: GOD’S GRACE
“For us who stand under the disapproval of God, who by sin lie under sentence of God’s eternal, everlasting displeasure and banishment, grace is an incomprehensibly immense and overwhelming plenitude of kindness and goodness. If we could only remember it, we wouldn’t have to be played with and entertained so much. If we could only remember the grace of God toward us who have nothing but demerit, we would be overwhelmed by this incomprehensibly immense attribute, so vast, so huge, that nobody can ever grasp it or hope to understand it.”
Even though the definition of grace is like the definition of mercy they are not the same. The heart of the “concept of mercy is the love of God, which is freely manifested in His gracious saving acts on behalf of those to whom he has pledged himself in covenant relationship.” Suffering can either be due to discipline for having sinned or could be the by-product of chance that happens to everyone (Ecclesiastes 9:11). Last week we learned that mercy is when God looks upon the suffering of those living in a fallen world and has active compassion towards them by either changing their situation or providing the means to endure it. The heart of grace on the other hand is “the dimension of divine activity that enables God to confront human indifference and rebellion with an inexhaustible capacity to forgive and to bless.” Grace is “God’s goodness confronting human demerit” wherein God looks upon the sins of humanity that deserves death (Romans 6:23) and yet is still willing to provide the means to be forgiven and have one’s relationship with Him restored.
Christ is the channel through which grace flows. Grace did not come from when Christ was born in a manger (Luke 2:1-7), when He was baptized (Matthew 3:13-17), when He died on the cross (Luke 23:44-46) or even when He rose again (Luke 24:1-9) and went to the Father’s right hand in glory (Psalms 110:1). The plan of salvation was not conceived at any of these times but was laid before the foundation of this world (Revelation 13:8). While God progressively revealed His plans and purpose for humanity over approximately seven dispensations of time that does not negate the fact that God’s plan from eternity past was to manifest His grace through the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. “If God had not operated in grace He would have swept the human race away. He would have crushed Adam and Eve under His heel in awful judgment, for they had it coming.” As it is every single person who has lived or ever will live, no matter how evil or good; has been given grace in the form of a lifetime of chances to embrace salvation through belief in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ!
It was a hundred years before the Church ever began to try to explain the atonement. While I can somewhat understand that Christ voluntarily took on the righteous wrath of God that was due to the wages of our sins, how can anyone truly understand what this means? The intensity and severity of God’s wrath knows no one except the Son. Like Job, I cannot “brace myself like a man” and answer God’s questions when it comes to His splendor and wonder (Job 38). When I come to the foot of the cross I can’t help but kneel in wonder, humbly acknowledging that I see dimly now, for creation cannot touch the untouchable or know the unknowable! God is wholly other and as such while I know of His plan of atonement, I will not see it clearly until Christ returns and reveals it to me. I often feel like a two-year-old child asking my father a question that I could never understand the answer until I grow up! How I look forward to the day when I receive my spiritual body and come to rest in His presence so that I might know what cannot be known now!