Message of the Week
January 23, 2006 - My dad took a huge risk. My car was loaded and the tank was full as my family gathered on the sidewalk to say a teary goodbye as I left for Bible college. Just before I slid into the driver's seat, my dad reached into his pocket and retrieved a small envelope. As he handed it to me, he said, “Use this wisely!” and I assured him that I would. A few blocks later as I sat at the traffic light, I opened the envelope to find an eye-popping $500 in cash.
Whoa! In the early '70s that was a huge sum of money, and with what I had saved from my summer job, I was “sittin' pretty.” Forget college - I could be living it up in Tijuana by nightfall.
My dad took a huge risk. And so did God.
You see, some 2,000 years ago God started doing things a bit differently. Instead of stressing the law of the Old Testament, he started this new thing called “grace.” Simply put, God's grace was demonstrated when Jesus died on the cross, with his blood paying for the sin of all those who believe in him. Suddenly, because of grace, complete and total forgiveness is possible.
The problem is, with this new arrangement, it would not take long for human logic to take a fatal leap, saying, “You mean, it does not matter what I do? God will still forgive me? If that is the case, the worse I am, the better God looks.” Yep. God took a huge risk with this new thing called grace.
So there I was, zooming down the highway with a full tank of gas and a pocket full of cash. Tijuana did not appeal to me at all. Why? Because I knew what that $500 represented. It meant that my dad made a huge sacrifice on my behalf. It cost him a lot to give me that money, and no doubt it took a while for the families budget to recover.
Knowing what his free gift cost him, I was inspired to live right, not tempted to live wrong.
God's grace provides the same inspiration. Knowing what it cost him to forgive our sin should not give us license to abuse his goodness. Rather, it should empower us to live as we should.
God did take a risk, but when his people truly understand grace, it is really no risk at all.
Lee Roberts is pastor of the Gray Avenue Christian Church, 1524 Gray Ave., Yuba City. To include your faith group in our Message of the Week column, contact Faith & Family coordinator Larry Badger at 741-2400 or firstname.lastname@example.org