Unchanging | 500 Words on Grace
by You Have My Word
One of the greatest tragedies of our time, as the church, is the notion that “law was then, grace is now”. The concept of grace is associated with the New Covenant, and somehow we have come to see the Old Testament as the story of an angry God, who transitioned into a loving, caring, gracious Father in the New Testament. But no… the reason is He called an unchanging God is because (wait for it…) He hasn’t changed. He has always been, is, and will always be that same loving, caring, gracious Father.
With that said, the opportunity to write about grace excited me beyond words. I am who I am today, where I am today, living the life I live today because God’s grace was made evident to me through God’s people in profound ways. One of my favourite lines from a worship song, written by the team at Rhema, reads: “Where would I be without your love, without Your grace that picked me up?” This is my life, put into one simple question. The answer: Lost. Completely. Utterly. Lost.
Because grace is so personal to me, the temptation to simply write about its splendour is one that’s difficult to resist. But resist, I must. Rather, I want to introduce you to the fact that the law did not, in fact, precede grace. No, grace is not a “New Testament” concept. And God has not recently converted to graciousness like a grandfather whose near death experience has given him a new love for his family.
We are introduced to the Law in Exodus 20 in the form of the 10 Commandments, or the “10 Words” (Decalogue). We are taught these from a young age if we attended Sunday School, and could probably recite most of them. We know that the 10 Commandments begin with “You shall serve no other God but me” right? Wrong.
The Decalogue begins with the Law Maker revealing His identity: “I am the Lord Your God who has brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.” (Ex 20:1)
Bam. Did you see it? Grace. Right there, before the law is given.
The principle is this: A law always reveals something about the law maker. Here, God doesn’t expect us to assume anything. He reveals Himself outright before giving a single law to Moses. He is the Lord, their God, who has already saved them from slavery. If that is not grace, what is?
Grace grants us what we do not deserve.
Grace ushers us into the presence of a King.
Grace frees us from the power of death.
Grace sees us as everything that we are not (yet).
Grace is about salvation.
The story of the Exodus is exactly that – it is the story of God who rescues a nation who will worship Him, who will obey Him, who will serve Him. Future tense. It is still to come – they don’t deserve the salvation, but because HE IS Gracious, loving, caring Father – He rescues them before telling them how to live.
That same God allows us to worship Him today, before we start obeying Him. That same God forgives our sins simply because we ask Him to. That same God blesses us in ways we don’t deserve. That same God frees us over and over again. He does this because He cannot go against His very nature.
He is grace.
Mark Paul is the kind of friend everyone needs; there are moments of off-the-charts ridiculous fun, balanced by moments of incredible profundity. Today’s 500 Words on Grace testifies to the kind of life Mark lives. Check out his blog here and make sure you follow him on Twitter here.