GodReflection: Is Grace Still Amazing?
In the previous three posts, I initiated the exploration of eight high points of grace found across the pages of Scripture. They are the Grace Peaks of my Bible.
When I contemplate specific God acts found in Scripture designed to prepare me to receive his grace, I should stand in holy amazement. Grace so amazing that I’m covered with it now—and yet it is grace so grand—I will only know its complete fullness in the next reality.
Last time my journey closed after the identification of six grace peaks: Promise, Nation, King, Hope, Son, and Spirit.
Near the Holy Peaks of Son and Spirit two additional grace summits rise from the floor of my New Testament.
The first is the New Holy Nation Peak
Early Christians referred to it in terms translated as ‘church’ through the generations.
From its high mountain canyons echo what is perhaps the most significant question Jesus directed to one of his disciples. He asks Peter: “But what about you . . . who do you say I am?”
Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it” (Matthew 16:15-18).
Through God’s grace we the people of God—a new nation—are identified as the church. Late in his own life, the apostle Peter reflects on this holy pinnacle and describes it for the remainder of eternity. It is, a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light (1 Peter 2:9).
The king of the Holy Nation is Jesus (Ephesians 1:22). Through us his church, God’s act of grace and wisdom is made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 3:10).
From this new Nation all who are citizens learn from Jesus and his first century disciples to live at the crest of the final grace peak of the Bible’s story. It is none other than Anticipation Peak.
The climax of all recorded history is Christ’s return. Scripture is replete with anticipation. The church—Jesus’ followers since his day—join the apostle Paul and look forward to the full expression of God’s grace.
Holy Grace will become our reality when Jesus returns to usher us into the very presence of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
That full expression of grace will be to live eternally in God’s company on a restored earth under a new heaven.
Here is how Paul describes what we anticipate as the gateway to our eternal graceland:
Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.
For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep.
For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so, we will be with the Lord forever.(1 Thessalonians 4:13-17).
From start to finish Scripture points to the climatic restoration of the Holy. That is what makes grace amazing today still.
Since the beginning of time through Jesus final return, God has orchestrated through Father, Son, and Spirit all intricacies to make it possible for me—a fallen member of the human race—to participate in the “new now”.
The Apostle John inspires me to see in my mind’s eye a time when all my human expectations of grace are met and even fully exceeded:
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
“See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.”
And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” (Revelation 21:1-5).
And just think, when we arrive face to face with The Holy, we will then understand what’s so amazing about grace. That makes worthy and notable the eight Holy Peaks of Grace found in God’s story—don’t you think?
Dr. Gary J. Sorrells
A GodReflection on Grace Peaks Create Amazement