Yeah right…it’s more like books are slammed, thrown, yanked open and I fall in. Who can resist a book?
Who can resist a book by Max Lucado? Or who can resist a book about grace? That single element, character trait we all desire in others and yes, if we’re honest, we want in ourselves as well. We’re often saying, “there but for the grace of God, go I”, which has always struck me as a nice way of saying “that person is an idiot” or if not an idiot, they are obviously a much bigger sinner than I am. I am not sure the statement is even true. I don’t think God‘s grace can anymore keep us from sinning than we can walk to the moon. If God’s grace could keep us from sinning, why do we sin at all? Does His grace only keep us from the big sins? Do we not commit adultery because of God’s grace? Do we not murder because of grace?
My heart beats the heart beat of a sinner. T’is true. As much as I’d like to pretend otherwise, I sin. I have grace, but that grace is not a license to sin more. The Apostle Paul addresses this very thought, “Shall we go on sinning that grace might increase? May it NEVER BE!” (Romans 6:1-2 emphasis mine) I can’t expect to gain more and more grace by committing more and more sin. Not in the least! I have all the grace from God I could ever need. I can’t get more from Him because I don’t need more from Him. His grace, through Jesus atonement, bought my redemption.
Wow. I need no more grace.
Except from others. I do need others to extend grace because I still mess up and my mess ups affect others. Just tonight I had to apologize to two friends because I messed up. They were both very gracious to me.
In case you’re wondering what all this has to do with Max Lucado and books called Grace. Mr. Lucado has written a wonderful book called simply, Grace. I can say it’s wonderful because, although I’ve only read the first chapter, I’ve read other books by him and the first chapter was exceptional!
One phrase caught my attention, “The Christian is a person in whom Christ is happening.” Happening…that is in the present tense. Christ didn’t happen to us…He is happening. I know we’ve all heard the cliches about God being a God of the present and He is. I think though we still tend to leave Him in the past. I don’t want God to be a God of my past and I don’t want Him to just be a God of my future. I want Him to be God of my Present.
Grace brings God to the present. He didn’t happen to us at some point in historical time. He IS happening to us and in us.
He hasn’t lived–He IS living
He hasn’t walked–He IS walking
He hasn’t taught–He IS teaching
He hasn’t saved–He IS saving
He didn’t intercede–He IS interceding
He hasn’t loved–He IS Loving (and is, in fact, Love)
He hasn’t come–He IS coming.
There are a million or more things God IS doing that we tacked on -ed to instead of bringing it to the present with an -ing.
I want to bring God to my -ing. I want to realize anew and a fresh that He is not only IN my present but He IS my present. I want to walk and live like this in an ingrained reality. I want to revel in His presence in my present. I want to know His grace, to experience it with all of my senses so I can in turn be a conduit of His grace to others, so I can bring Him and His presence into their present as well.
Imagine what would happen if we as believers did this? Staggering and more than a little mind-blowing.