While growing up, there wasnt exactly a lot of grace floating around our household. Most of the time there was just dead silence. Come home from school with As? Silence. Get on an all star team? Silence. Achieve in student government? SilenceOr probably more accurately, indifference.
The adult world of work isnt much different. In fact, a lot of the guys I hang out with feel hung out to dry, twisting in the cultural winds of indifference, censorship, and exploitation. In business its produce or get the pink slip. In academia its publish or perish.
Not so with our Savior. Before the creation of the world He chose, predestined and adopted us, simply by the pleasure of His good will (Eph. 1:4, 5). Imagine: His choosing of us had nothing to do with our performance. Not only that, but He redeemed us from our sins in accordance with the riches of His grace that He lavished on us (Eph. 1:7,8). (See Act. 20:28; Jn. 6:51; 10:11; 15:13)
Lavished grace: Not an easy concept to grasp. Perhaps one reason is because many of us have experienced so little of it in the world around us. And most of us find grace in short supply in the raw meat, cut throat business and professional world that demands we claw our way up the ladder to success, whatever the price tag.
So what is this lavished grace God freely grants to us? The Greek word for lavish is perisseuo and conveys the idea of superfluous, abundance and excess. For example, remember when:
Jesus fed the thousands? The account states that all ate and were satisfied (Literally: gorged, filled) and the disciples picked up twelve basketsful of broken pieces that were left over (Matt. 14:20).
Jesus told Peter to recast his net after a fruitless night of fishing? They caught such a large number of fish that the nets began to break (Lk. 5:6). (See Matt. 25:29; 2 Cor. 1:5; 8:9) There is nothing parsimonious about our God!
When our young childrens adopted grandmother realized that they loved black olives, she proceeded to bring them cans of black olives, every time she visited us. She literally lavished olives upon them.
So, if you are struggling with a vexing sin, keep in mind His lavish grace which has been yours from all eternity. Just one caution: Paul reminds us,Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?…You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love (Rom. 6:1, 2; Gal. 5:13). (See Rom. 6:15; 2:4; 5:21)
Having trouble forgiving someone who has offended you? Then choose to grant them the same lavish grace the Father has extended to you. (See Matt. 18:21-35) Do you see mediocrity and slipshod living among professed Christians? Lets help them the best we can, but not with an attitude of cold censorship, but rather of Gods lavish grace.
This week, may you experience His grace, peace and protection.
R. Dwight Hill