God’s grace has many facets but is the same grace no matter which way we look at it.
When someone utters the word Grace, more often than not the mind wanders to a warm fuzzy feeling. We often think of grace in terms of warm feelings, allowing for differences, and other nice actions. Seldom do we associate a judgement with grace. But did you know that one of God’s most gracious acts was wrapped in a judgement?
Genesis 3 details how Adam and Eve first sinned in the Garden of Eden. They were given free reign in the Garden. They were supposed to tend the Garden but I’m sure they enjoyed other things as well. I’m positive it was a beautiful life. Imagine living in a perfect world with a beautiful wife and daily walking with the perfect God. What an amazing life. To remain in this place all Adam and Eve had to do was obey. Simple obedience. Well, it isn’t so simple is it.
Adam and Eve sinned. The took and ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It was the only tree that God had told them not to partake. But they didn’t obey and they broke God’s command. The immediate effect of their sin was apparent – their eyes were opened to a world that went way beyond what they thought. Instead of being enlightened as the serpent said they would be, their minds were darkened by sin and shame. God found them and judged them all. After pronouncing His judgment on the serpent, Adam, and Eve, God continued
Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”— therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life. Genesis 3:22-24 NASB
God expelled Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden – their home – for their sin as a gracious act. Now you may wonder how in the world can expulsion from the very presence of God, His perfect world can be viewed as an act of grace? Let’s take a look.
The key to this is that God wanted to prevent Adam and Eve from eating from the tree of life and thus living forever. Now why would living forever be a bad thing? Isn’t eternal life a good thing?
Eternal life in Christ is a very good thing. We can be sure of our destination. But eternal life also includes life in eternal separation from God. That means forever being separated from being God’s friend – never being redeemed, always being condemned. That eternal life isn’t such a great thing for those who experience it. But it is the destiny of the unredeemed. And it is exactly what God was graciously preventing from happening to Adam and Eve.
If Adam and Eve had eaten from the tree of life while in their sinful state, they would have never died, never been redeemed and never been reconciled. As the head of the human race, this means that their children (read us) would probably be in the same status: unredeemable. God’s grace said NO! to that proposition.
God expelled Adam and Eve in order to redeem them. He expelled them so they could not live forever in their sinful state. He expelled them so that He would draw them closer to Him. He expelled them because He loved them and desired them to spend etenity with Him. That is grace.
Amazing grace. Radical grace
When you think of God shedding His grace on you, remember that
When He disciplines you, He is beng gracious to you. He doesn’t want you to continue in unrighteous behaviours, but to be conformed to the image of His Son, Jesus Christ.
When God takes through trials – whatever type they may be – know that He is acting graciously towards you so that you will grow in Him.
When you face hardships, whether those are of the financial type, health type, or some other type, know that God is acting graciously towards you.
God’s grace has many facets but is the same grace no matter which way we look at it. It is His grace that He extends to us. His unmerited favor that He grants to us. The fact that He extends it to us – a sinful, rebellious, self-absorbed people – is something truly amazing.
God’s grace IS radical.