Grace Is For All Of Us!
The following is an excerpt written by Philip Yancey for Our Daily Bread, which I use in my meditation. ODB has greatly blessed me down through the years by instructing, guiding, provoking, reassuring – and usually just when I need it. So today’s reading and message resonates. I hope that you also will be blessed in reading it. Thank you.
Today’s thought is based upon Matthew 5:43-48 and John 8:9-11.
‘“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.’
‘…At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
“No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”’
by Philip Yancey
“Neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. John 8:11.
Jesus’s teaching about absolute ideals and absolute grace seem contradictory.
Jesus never lowered God’s perfect ideal. In His response to the rich young ruler, He said, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” ( Matthew 5:48. )
He told an expert in the law who inquired as to the greatest commandment, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” ( Matthew 22:37. )
No one has completely fulfilled those commands.
Yet the same Jesus tenderly offered absolute grace. He forgave an adulteress, a thief on the cross, a disciple who had denied ever knowing Him, and a man named Saul, who had made his mark persecuting Christians. Grace is absolute and all-encompassing, extending even to those who nailed Jesus to the cross: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” were among the last words He spoke on earth ( Luke 23:34. )
For years I felt so unworthy when considering Jesus’s absolute ideals that I missed any notion of His grace. Once I understood this dual message, however, I went back and found that the message of grace gusts through Jesus’s life and teachings.
Grace is for the desperate, the needy, the broken, those who cannot make it on their own. Grace is for all of us.
Prayer: “Father, Your all-encompassing grace washes over us and astonishes us. May we live today as people who enjoy Your complete forgiveness and a restored relationship with You.”
Jesus fulfilled the perfect requirements of the law so that we may enjoy the perfect peace of His grace.
I hope that this meditation has meant something to you, helped you and encouraged you as it did me.