April 22, 2019

Well we have just finished celebrating Easter. Easter is all about the grace of God given to sinful mankind. But really what is grace? Let’s stop and consider grace for a few minutes. Once considered it should give us a renewed appreciation for God’s grace. It might even change the way we think and behave.

Isaiah 53:5–6 (NLT) — 5 But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. 6 All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all.

Donald Grey Barnhouse, “Love that goes upward is worship; love that goes outward is affection; love that stoops is grace.”

I don’t think you could stoop any lower than Jesus did when he was pinned to the cross. I don’t think you could stoop any lower than Father God did when he allowed his son to be pinned to the cross for us. But let me give you an example of this stooping grace. An example that you will find hard to forget.

Let’s say that you had a five year old son that was kidnapped and then murdered. After months of investigation the detectives were able to locate the killer and bring him in. Now you have a choice.  If you were like me you would probably want to get out your .45 caliber handgun and end the person’s life immediately. Doing that would be called vengeance.

You could be content to let the court system take over and execute the person the proper way; fair trial, conviction or maybe a plea of guilty and then capital punishment. If you chose that route it would be called justice.

There is one other choice to be made. You could plea for the child murderer to be pardoned, forgive him completely, and then invite him into your home and adopt him as your own son. That dear Hilltop people is grace.

And that is what was happening on Easter. We deserved vengeance, we deserved justice and instead God chose to give us grace. Pretty heady stuff, right? Know anybody in your life that could use a dose of this grace?

Ephesians 2:1–6 (NLT) — 1 Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. 2 You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. 3 All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else. 4 But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, 5 that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) 6 For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.

I guess we can celebrate Easter all year long.

Be Inspired Hilltop!