Making God’s Grace Possible
Every genuine believer has an understanding of the concept of God’s grace. We are aware of its benefits and how it is obtained. We know that scripture encourages us to “come boldly before the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16), and although we are quick and eager to appropriate God’s grace for our own needs, we often fail to appreciate the cost of that grace. How did God’s grace become available to man? The easy answer is that it originated in the heart of God. While that is certainly true we must never forget that God had to bridge an enormous gap to make grace possible.
One of the great challenges for us as Christians is to maintain a balance of biblical positions, which is never easy. We have to learn to rest in God’s love while maintaining a genuine respect for His holiness. It is especially difficult to enjoy the freedom from the bondage of the law provided by our salvation while taking care not to abuse that freedom by indulging the desires of the flesh. God’s grace in our lives must coexist seamlessly with God’s truth.
There is one other vital principle which, when understood, helps to lay the foundation for God’s provision of grace. The immense, unconditional love of God for man had to be balanced against God’s intense hatred for the sin man is so prone to commit. How could that be possible? Because our God is just, He could not simply dismiss the sin, it had to be punished. And for grace to be offered, some provision had to be made that would bridge that gap.
In Psalm 85:7 the Psalmist makes a request of his God: “Shew us thy mercy, O Lord, and grant us thy salvation.” Then in verse 10 we find one of the most wonderful truths in scripture: “Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” Mercy, representing the unconditional love of God for man has met with truth, which is the expression of the law. God’s mercy seeks to forgive man for his violation of the law, truth demands that there be no forgiveness – sin must be punished. Yet mercy and truth met each other. Then the Bible tells us that righteousness (the holiness of God) kissed peace (the satisfaction of God’s demand for sin to be punished).
We usually think of a meeting or a kiss as a pleasant, enjoyable event. In this instance, however, the event was hardly pleasant. While all that took place was motivated by love, the physical and spiritual details of the encounter were almost too horrible to imagine. II Corinthians 5:21 says “For he hath made him (Jesus) to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” Our sin was so hideous in the eyes of a holy God that our only hope for salvation rested in the sacrifice of God’s Son. Jesus, quite literally, became the bridge that made grace possible!
It is somewhat common for us, as believers, to become so used to our salvation, so comfortable in our “Christian culture” that we take God’s grace for granted. Sure, we understand that we don’t deserve God’s grace, we can’t earn it, and that it is a gift from God. What we often forget is that the gift, though free to us, cost our Savior His honor, His purity, and His life. Without His sacrifice, the gap separating us from God still exists, we are still condemned of our sins, and even though God’s love for man is still immeasurable, there is no grace available. How can we not say, along with the Apostle Paul, “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift?”