Today happens to be a great day for contemplating sinfulness and the immensity of God’s grace. Everyday is of course good for such contemplation, but today is that Saturday sandwiched between Good Friday and Easter that invites solemn reflection.
A good place to start in our reflection is by asking ourselves how well do we really understand grace? Do we have the capacity to comprehend the depth and pervasiveness of grace, or are we blind by self righteousness and temporal concerns? How well do we live in the knowledge of past grace to strengthen our hope of future grace? Well, most of us are probably not very good with grace. We are much like the Children of Israel when they asked Samuel to make them a king to reign over them in 1 Sam 12. Samuel reminds them that God has been good to them and delivered them time and time again in the past. He also points out that he has not acted like the kings of the land and oppressed them etc. so their present condition is one of freedom and blessedness – and it is in this context that the Children of Israel ask for a king. Their fear of the Ammonite king Nahash caused them to react carnally and forget grace.
This event in Israel’s history echos with the stories of many Christians today. We are often pressured into carnal thinking out of fear – but the connection is much deeper than this.
Some things to consider:
- The Israelites had rejected God as king over them (1 Sam 8:7)
- Samuel typologically embodied Christ’s meditatorial offices (Prophet: he plead for the people to keep their covenant bonds with God and His Word; Priest: he interceded continually for the people 1 Sam 12:23; King: though atypical of current kings he lead the people righteously)
- The people asked for a king out of fear
- The peoples fear and sin had caused them to forget God’s past and present grace
Is this not how we act when we refuse God’s grace and trust in carnal/worldly answers? Or when we reject the possibility of God’s love for us because we have begun something sinfully? I have counseled several Christians that believe that because they got married in sin (fornication, adultery, unequally yoked etc.) that God will not bless them. But if you think about it, God’s grace is always surrounding us so that we can have any relationship with him in the first place. We are always in sin. Always concocting solutions from carnal means. Always suppressing the true reality of our sin (i.e. that we are rejecting God’s rule over us). Our only hope is for a mediator. But it also needs to be noted that the mediator’s office is surrounded in Common Grace. God hold’s back his wrath in order to install His mediator of special/salvific Grace.
Being Easter weekend, it is good to think about that preeminent work of God’s grace in Jesus’s death and resurrection, but we should also consider that graciousness of God to wait for the fullness of time to accomplish His work, and wonderful grace of God which redeems all of our sinfulness and relationships. We are surrounded by Grace and grace is for sinners like you and me!