The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. – Romans 5:20-21 (NIV)
Let Grace Reign
Grace has always been difficult for me, both in giving and receiving. Every time I read Romans, I am reminded of my need to let grace reign.
Recently, my 10-year-old son messed up big-time. At some point, when no one was looking, my man scrawled the first letter (“E”) of his name (Elijah) onto our coffee table. Now, to be sure, we do not have fancy furniture in our home, and the coffee table we have is “rustic” in look, complete with scratches and divots, but at no point have I ever worried about our children vandalizing the furniture in our very home!
When I discovered my son’s handiwork, I was angry but too bewildered to respond in the moment. It wasn’t that we had an “E” carved into our furniture so much that I had a son who would do such a thing. After all, he should know better! When I was finally able to address Eli, likely with something super-sarcastic like “Why would you do that???”, there was no hiding for the boy. As Adam-like as he looked, there was no blaming the woman. His little sister’s name does not start with an “E,” so finger-pointing would have done little good. It was fully on him–his sin was fully exposed for all to see, and his dad was angry!
Those with children know how quickly your relationship with God changes once those beautiful, little babies show up. The truth is, Eli’s heart is a thousand times purer than mine, and his engraving pales in comparison to the daily, hidden struggles I face: coveting, jealousy, lust, anger. And the list could go on. I’m just more experienced at hiding these sins from others. Yet despite my efforts to conceal my sins, they are just as visible to God as “the E” was to me. Amazingly, though, and as Romans reminds us, God’s response to my sin is grace.
Two years ago, my oldest brother and his wife lost their son Noah in a tragic accident. It was terrible and awful and heart-wrenching, and it remains all of those things. And when I think about my anger over a letter “E,” I have to remind myself how my brother would love to see the letter “N” on his coffee table this morning. To know that his son Noah was there, sinner and all.
And just like that, God’s grace has floored me yet again.
He Loves You Anyway
Be reminded, brother and sister: God sees you in your sin, and He loves you anyway. Rather than hiding from our sins, “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
And let that encourage you today.
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Small Group Director at Good News Church | St. Augustine, FL