The Source of Grace

     Of course, God is under obligation to no one.  He is God and there is no other.  No one deserves His grace.  No one is entitled to His grace.  His grace is always a gift of love, of compassion.  Never forget that.  There is no ritual, no work, nothing you or I nor anyone else can do to force Him to give us His grace.  It is His decision alone.

 

 (Exo 33:19 NKJV)  . . . I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”

 

     And the message is that grace comes to the humble, to the broken.  Grace is the powerful and loving Lord reaching down to His needy people to provide all their needs.  Listen to the Scriptures:

James 4:6 ( NKJV ) But He gives more grace. Therefore He says:

    “God resists the proud,

    But gives grace to the humble.”

 

     The humble, who look to the Lord, receive grace.

 

(Isa 66:1-2 NKJV)  Thus says the LORD: “Heaven is My throne, And earth is My footstool. Where is the house that you will build Me? And where is the place of My rest? {2} For all those things My hand has made, And all those things exist,” Says the LORD. “But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, And who trembles at My word.

 

(Psa 34:18 NKJV)  The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit.

 

(Psa 51:17 NKJV)  The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart; These, O God, You will not despise.

 

 

     There are many verses that support this idea.  God blesses those who come to Him in repentance and brokenness.  That brings up two very important questions.  First, just what does repentance and brokenness mean?  If this is so important we need to understand it.

     The broken and contrite heart belongs to a person who has examined his or her life and has come to the understanding of his or her need.  When we look at ourselves and see how far short of God’s plan we fall, we are humbled.  To repent simply means to look at your life and say in your heart, “This isn’t working and I’ve got nothing else.  I need someone to save me.”

     David certainly exhibits this brokenness in the 51st Psalm.  Confronted with his sin, he knows what to do.  He turns his heart in humility to the Lord.  You can almost picture David on his knees as he prays this prayer of repentance.  He cannot ignore the truth of his sin.  He cannot bargain with God or redefine terms or blame someone else.  He doesn’t even try these things.  Instead, he humbles himself.  He agrees with God on his unworthiness and he looks to God for mercy and strength. 

     Years ago, when I was in seminary, I shared a message which drew a contrast between Judas and Peter.  Both denied Christ, if you will remember.  Both sinned against Him.  Yet, while Judas ran away from Jesus, Peter ran to Him.  He understood that he had sinned and that his only hope was in the love of Jesus.  He humbled himself before the Lord and found the Lord’s love and mercy.

     To be humble and broken before the Lord is to throw yourself on His mercy, to depend on Him for everything.  It is to be the man in the picture, bowing continually before the only One who has what he needs. 

     This is not a false humility where we talk about our unworthiness and hope everyone notices how humble we are.  This is about a true understanding of our need.  This is the man in the picture.  He has nothing to offer, nothing to give, no hope—and he reaches out in desperation to the One who has everything he needs.  That’s humility.  And grace is the One who has all we need reaching out to us.

     I want to keep the visual image of ourselves bowed before Him and Him reaching out to us in love in front of us because it is a good picture of grace.  Whatever we need we must find in Him.  He is our hope.  He is our wisdom and our strength.  He is our provision, our health, our love, our service.  Everything that is offered to God through our lives is offered by Him. 

     Over the next week I would encourage you to seek that broken and contrite heart.  Ask the Lord to humble you and look to Him for everything.  Picture yourself bowed before Him receiving His grace to satisfy your need.

 

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