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Grace. What do you think of when you hear that word? How about "delight"? What do those words mean to you?
When I was at the beach recently, I had the pleasure of spending a few hours with one of my best friends, Grace. She and I went for a short stroll on the beach and then sat in the sand for a while talking.
Words of GraceDuring our conversation, Grace started describing a beautiful concept she's been learning lately. She explained that a lot of people have this idea of God being disappointed in us when we sin. And of course, God does hate sin, and in one sense, He is disappointed when we sin against Him. And we are responsible for our wrong-doing. But, Grace went on to explain, disappointment comes when there are unmet expectations, but God knew from the time He saved us (really, He's known forever) all the sins we would ever commit. And with that knowledge of every wrong, and every heartache we would cause Him, He still saved us.
And knowing what He knew, He still said that He delights in us. God did not say "I delight in you", only to retract it when we mess up. He gave His delight knowing full-well the sins I will commit when I'm 40, 60, and 80. His grace extends to all of those, and His delight in me continues even when I sin (in the little sins and the big sins).
Hard to FathomI've always struggled with God's grace, and the concept of Him delighting in me. I've always felt that He saved me out of some sort of begrudging love. He didn't "have to", but He kind of did. This, of course, is entirely false, but I still struggle with feeling this way.
But God's word, the Bible, tells us that God loves us (Romans 8:37-39), God delights in us (Psalm 149:4; Zephaniah 3:17), and God gives grace to us (1 John 1:9). He sees us and He accepts us. He sees us and He loves us. He sees us for who we are, yet He still delights in us.
Oftentimes, Christians will fall into one of two extremes: grace or damnation.
Opposite Ends of the Spectrum
I tend to focus on God's justice and hatred of sin to the point that I doubt his love and mercy towards me- that's damnation. Others however, focus so much on God's grace and love, that they forget that He hates sin. Everything is about love and acceptance and grace, skipping over the fact that God calls us to holiness and righteousness- this is a distortion of grace. But as in most things, there's a balance that needs to happen.
God loves us. God hates our sin. God gives us grace when we fail, but He calls us to true holiness. God delights in us as His children, but He still abhors our poor choices.
Those things all work together. We as faulty humans have a hard time bringing them together, but God sure doesn't.
God gives us grace. That's not an excuse to keep on living however we want, or to keep on sinning (Romans 6:1), but it is an invitation to rejoice. It's an occasion to celebrate. It's a reason to live a life of peace and joy- all because of Jesus!
Do you feel you have a good grasp of God's grace and delight in His children? Do you tend to overly focus on one side of God's character more than another? Comment below.