Thursday, April 17, 2014

amazing, abounding grace--part 2

The Word for today:
Genesis 37
mark this: Romans 5:20 --
But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more.
When we look at its panoramic whole, we see that the prevailing theme of Genesis is grace.
Yesterday, we saw God's grace in the lives of Adam and Eve, Cain, Noah, Abraham, Jacob, and Joseph. Today we will conclude by looking closely at our most popular hymn--John Newton's "Amazing Grace."
Grace means that God is good even when we aren't. God's grace is what saves us:
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
What Ephesians 2:8-9 means, when stripped of its theological terminology, is that God didn't save me because I am good, he saved me because he is good.
Grace upon grace.
We usually focus on saving grace, as in John Newton's hymn:
Amazing grace!--how sweet the sound--that saved a wretch like me.
But there is much more in the word grace, as the rest of the hymn bears out.  The second verse sings of preparatory or, as the theologians say, prevenient grace:
Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved;
how precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed.
Newton's third verse is about sustaining, enabling grace:
Through many dangers, toils, and snare, I have already come;
'tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.
And the final stanza is about glorifying grace:
When we've been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun,
we've no less days to sing God's praise than when we first begun.

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