A God Of Grace
2 Kings 3:13-14, “Now Elisha said to the king of Israel, ‘What do I have to do with you?…As the Lord of hosts lives, before whom I stand, were it not that I regard the presence of Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, I would not look at you nor see you.’ “
Grace. Undeserved favor. Unmerited assistance. A free gift. Kindness bestowed. Receiving everything when you’ve earned nothing. A bowl of ice cream even though the vegetables were never eaten. Heaven instead of hell. Being called “friend” despite the fact that on most days I still act like an “enemy.” An eternity with God…a God that was crucified because of my sin, a God that I still to this day largely ignore and neglect. Grace.
Mankind has spent the better part of it’s existence trying to find words to adequately explain grace. Entire books have been written on the subject. Countless sermons have been preached in an effort to explain it. Theologians have devoted themselves to this foundational concept. And yet…in spite of our best efforts we just don’t get it. In spite of everything we have heard and everything we know so many of us still struggle with the truth of a God who lovingly reaches out to us even as we pound the nails into His hands.
We have spent the past 3 days taking a look at the life of Jehoram. The picture that scripture paints is not pretty. God’s declaration over his life was that “he did evil in the sight of the Lord.” Jehoram was a man who went through the motions of worship but whose heart was far from God. He had a form of religion but no true relationship. A man given to rash decisions, unrighteous anger, and prideful independence. A man quick to blame God when life didn’t turn out the way he had hoped. To further confound everything he willfully chose to neglect and ignore God’s word and wisdom. He was content to live life on his own, depending upon his own strength rather than trusting on God.
The problem for me is that I’m not all that different from Jehoram. I could easily replace his name with mine. Even on my best day my righteousness is still nothing better than a pile of filthy rags (i.e., God wouldn’t even use them to clean His toilet). I am evil. I am a sinner. I deserve death, hell, and the full wrath of God. But….just like Jehoram, I happen to be standing next to the right guy.
Jehoram had Jehoshaphat. I have Jesus. Jehoram deserves nothing from God. But because he is standing next to Jehoshaphat he receives everything. Another man’s righteousness opened the windows of heaven over his life. Jehoram should have died in the desert. Without question. If I had been God, Jehoram would have died the moment he started blaming me for his own mess. Instead, God fills the valley with water and leads him in victory over his enemies. Why? Because of Jehoshaphat. Jehoram had done absolutely nothing. But he receives everything through the goodness of another. Jehoram was a recipient of grace.
It’s really no different for me. I don’t deserve anything. Not one single blessing. Not one single gift. Not one single favor or expression of His love. The only thing I really deserve is death. Instead, God gives me everything. And all because Jesus decided to come stand next to me (John 15:16). He didn’t have to do that. But He chose to do it anyway. I don’t understand it. Not at all. But maybe that’s the point. We will never fully “get it” this side of eternity. Stop trying to explain it. Instead, let’s just learn to experience and enjoy it.
Romans 8:32, “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?”