Imagine you are taking a nice autumn color tour. As you are enjoying the beautiful fall colors, you come upon a quaint town, where the speed limit through town drops to 25 mph.
As you make your way through town, enjoying the scenery, you suddenly become aware of the flashing lights of a police car behind you. Quickly glancing down at your speedometer, you notice that you are traveling at 35 mph!
The officer approaches your car, asks for your license and registration and returns to his car. At this point, there are two things that could happen.
Since you did break the law, the officer might return to your car with a traffic ticket, indicating that you were driving 10 mph over the speed limit. You may have all kinds of excuses, and even a spotless driving record, but the truth of the matter is you broke the traffic laws of that city. The ticket you received is, in fact, justice.
Now imagine the officer returns to your car and says, “You have a pretty good driving record, and I believe that you were enjoying the fall scenery, so I’m going to let you off with a warning this time.” Even though you broke the law, this police officer extended mercy to you by not giving you the penalty you deserved.
Have you ever experienced this kind of justice or mercy? Most of us probably have.
But here’s something you have probably never experienced. Imagine you are driving through the same quaint town, admiring the beauty, when you see those flashing lights in your rearview mirror. Quickly glancing down at your speedometer you see that you are traveling under the speed limit. You double-check that your seatbelt is fastened and you are obeying all of the traffic laws.
When the officer approaches your car, he says, “Do you know why I pulled you over? I pulled you over because you are following all of the traffic laws and I wanted to give you a $50 gift certificate to one of the best restaurants we have in town.”
If this ever happened to you, this would be the definition of grace: getting a blessing you didn’t deserve to receive!
Christians certainly understand justice averted, when the penalty for our sins fell on Jesus instead of on us. Christians also understand mercy, when we don’t have to pay for the sins we have committed. But have you ever stopped to consider the amazing grace God continues to pour over your life?
John describes it like this: For out of Christ’s fullness we have all received—all had a share and we were all supplied with—one grace after another and spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing and even favor upon favor and gift heaped upon gift (John 1:16 AMP).
All of us have blessing upon blessing, favor upon favor, gift upon gift heaped onto our lives. The Apostle Paul then asks, “What am I going to do with all of this grace I’ve received?”
His answer: I’m going to make sure I pass it along to others! (see Ephesians 3:1-9)
Gordon MacDonald wrote, “The world can do almost anything as well as or better than the church. You need not be a Christian to build houses, feed the hungry, or heal the sick. There is only one thing the world cannot do. It cannot offer grace.”
So here’s my question to you: how are you handling the grace God has lavished on you? Are you even aware of His grace gifts? Are you hoarding them for yourself?
Or are you making sure that those around you are recipients of the overflow of grace from your life? In other words, are you demonstrating what the world can never show?
Christian, make sure the world sees your grace-filled life in action! This is what brings glory to God and draws others to their own personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
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