Sunday, April 16, 2017

amazing, abounding grace--part 1

The Word for today:
Genesis 37
mark this: Romans 5:20
But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more.
While you microscopically examine the list of Esau's descendants in chapter 37, we are going to step back and take a look at Genesis through a telescope.
When we look at its panoramic whole, we see that the prevailing theme of Genesis is 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 to Adam and Eve.
On the occasion of their fall, God did not destroy them, but covered their sin:
And the LORD God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them. (Genesis 3:21)
Their covering skins, involving the unprecedented taking of life, pointed directly to the cross of Jesus Christ.
Grace to Cain.
Despite Cain's fratricide, he was was guarded by God:
Then the LORD said to him, "Not so! If anyone kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold." And the LORD put a mark on Cain, lest any who found him should attack him. (Genesis 4:15)
Grace to Noah.
Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. (6:8)
This is the first occurrence of the Hebrew word chen--translated in our Bible's as 'grace' or 'favor.'
Grace to Abraham.
Abraham, as a man of faith, was subject to a polishing process wherein God worked through the ups and downs of his life. The process turned a man who (twice) palmed off his wife off to a king (because of his lack of faith) into the man who could offer his son because he believed that God would raise him up on the spot.
Grace to Jacob.
Where do I begin?
The vision of a ladder girded him throughout twenty years of soul-shaping consternation under the "tutelage" of Laban.
Then, returning from Mesopotamia, he was gripped by an unknown assailant. He had no idea that he was in the grip of God's relentless grace. That night Jacob was crippled, renamed, and blessed.
Grace to Joseph.
At every twist and turn of Joseph's story--from pit to pinnacle--grace was there to meet him.
(We will conclude this topic tomorrow, when we will look closely at our most popular hymn--John Newton's "Amazing Grace.")

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