GodReflection: Is Grace Still Amazing?
Abraham receives the first glimpse of God’s gift promise: In you all the families of the earth will be blessed (Genesis 12:3). Step by step, Father God revealed his promise to Abraham. The divine plan (grace) to restore all lost through the garden sin.
Like all I inherit the Adamic sin gene. It’s deep in the roots of my original family tree. Sin and Holy do not mix. That ancestral “against God” gene places all humankind in a state that can never again walk in the presence of the Holy—that is until God reaches out to his beloved creation.
To be amazed by grace anew I go to the first big clue in scripture. It happened when God makes a miraculous appearance to Abraham with the promise of grace.
I wonder how much of the promise Abraham envisioned. Did he know God as Father, Son, and Spirit? Never had he seen a cross. Most likely, a dead human raised to walk again on this earth was far from his mind.
On another occasion God visits again. This time in Genesis 18 Abraham sat at the entrance of his tent in the heat of the day. God brings with him two other celestial visitors. All three appear in the form of men.
The LORD returns to the impending grace promise as they eat. “About this time next year,” the first seed of grace will arrive with the birth of Isaac to Sarah. Now aged, such a promise was enough to make a near-ninety-year-old barren woman laugh.
I doubt it crossed Abraham’s mind this visitor who came to eat with him would become flesh in Jesus the Son. He was to die and rise again as the provider of the fullness and reality of the promise. Indeed, all creation would be renewed.
After a graceful offer of cold water to clean and refresh the sandaled feet of God and his companions, they agree to Abraham’s hospitality meal spread under a shade tree.
From Abraham, I follow the promise of grace through the lineage of Isaac, Jacob, and his twelve boys. The remainder of the Old Testament story is the account of Jacob’s disobedient unruly descendants. The vein of gold that runs through the lives of God’s rebellious family is his promise to come with Jesus to change hearts toward love.
It is forgiveness grounded in God’s love that moves the promise from generation to generation. Grace is not found in religion. Grace is not found in ourselves. Grace is found in revelation from God—a revelation to Abraham that points to Jesus.
The covenant of grace made with Abraham filters through Scripture. It is grace that directs God’s time piece to a day when his gift of complete and eternal forgiveness would arrive in a livestock cave as a baby who would grow to manhood and live among his people.
For thirty-three years he walked among his sinful children full of grace and truth (John 1:14). His life of perfection would be offered as a sin sacrifice for mankind.
The Holy One of God would be killed, and his blood would be spent to cover the sins of humanity. He would suffer three days in hell apart from the Holy to pay for my sin. Then, God would raise Jesus to life, to walk the earth again for forty days and returned to the heavens to reign at the side of Father God and in company of the Holy Spirit.
True to his promise he did not leave us on our own but sent us the Holy Spirit to point humanity to the saving Christ.
The promise filters down through history and into my life.
God’s promise to Abraham is the key that gives me the confidence grace originates with the Holy. However, to be fair, God’s appearance to Abraham was not the origin of grace.
To reach the beginning we must travel back to eternity past. When the apostle Paul called it: the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things; so that through the church the wisdom of God in its rich variety might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was in accordance with the eternal purpose that he has carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord (Ephesians 3:9-11).
Prior to creation, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit knew we would fall into sin. Yet, beyond human comprehension, Holy grace released through the cross was planned prior to the first breath breathed into humankind to form a living soul. That alone should cause me to stop and praise Almighty God in utter amazement.
Like the first stroke in a grand mural, God began to unfold the eternal plan of his grace as early as the third chapter of the book Genesis. He begins with the first reference to Jesus, the cross, and the complete domination of Satan: I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will strike your head, and you will strike his heel (Genesis 3:15).
Through grace the Abraham promise envisioned the creation of a countless multitude cleansed by God from every tribe and nation to live in eternal sinlessness with the Holy.
Wow, it’s mind boggling to know the gift of grace promised to me through Abraham was sparked in eternity past.
What insight might you have that surrounds God’s announcement of the greatest gift ever given?
Dr. Gary J. Sorrells
A GodReflection on When Did God’s Grace Promise Appear?