“Better than Justice, Better than Mercy by Travis Renfrow”

Categories: Do you know the grace of God?

Back in 1942 Superman was billed as the defender of “truth, justice and the American way.” But these days, America is proud to be a land of second chances. For almost anyone, almost anything is forgivable. We forgive athletes when they cheat by taking performance enhancing drugs. We forgive celebrities for their run-ins with the law. We even forgive heads of state whose indiscretions cause our entire country to blush with embarrassment. We don’t always demand justice.

I remember years ago a man closing a church service with a prayer wherein he asked God for justice for each of us. In eighteen years at home congregation, it’s the only prayer I can recall where I withheld my “Amen.” Even though I was a Christian and I felt secure in my salvation, I couldn’t ask God for justice. I knew then as I know now, justice for me means I have to pay a penalty.

I am a sinner.  Romans 3:23 says, “All sin and fall short of the glory of God,” so I know that I’m included with the guilty. I also know what the penalty is for sin, because Romans 6:23 makes that plain when it says, “The wages of sin is death.” If I ask God for justice, then I ought to receive death. So I don’t pray for justice; I pray for mercy.

It’s within God’s divine right to grant or deny me mercy. But it’s God’s divine nature that wants to grant me pardon. Through the mercy of a patient God, we’re delivered from the punishment we surely deserve. But there’s more. There is grace.

If mercy is the love that spares us the punishment we deserve, grace is the gift of love that is much more than we deserve. Bible scholars ascribe several different definitions to the word grace, but all revolve around the idea of kindness or generosity.

Though we can’t compare to God’s mercy or grace, consider this scenario: a con man has come to town and ripped off your poor grandmother. He deceived her and robbed her of every dollar she had. Then he blew it. There is nothing left. Although he’s now sorry and apologizes to your grandmother, he has no way to repay her. While you still seethe in anger, your grandmother inexplicably forgives him. In fact, she’s so moved by his sincere apology she offers to take him in and care for him indefinitely.

Not everyone would understand what your grandmother had done, but those who know grace and mercy would praise her. Now imagine this: the con man was you. Though your grandmother had been nothing but kind to you your whole life, you selfishly ripped her off. But she still loved you through it all. She still forgave you because she wanted to. She would still take you into her home and care for you. She just needed you to ask for forgiveness and to do right.

God waits for all of us to ask for forgiveness and to do right. Scriptures teach us that there is more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine who need no repentance (Luke 14:7.) That’s the love of God that waits for me, that waits for you, that waits for us all. If you don’t know God’s grace you don’t know what you’re missing. Let us help.

Additional Resources
Better than Justice, Better than Mercy- Bible Study Guide 
That You May Have Life...- Sermon by Curtis Pope 
Faithful Love - Hymn from Annual Singing with Tim Stevens

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A Youthful Perspective

Grace is a Choice

By Lindsey Embry

A guy runs me over in the school hallway and doesn’t help me pick up my books. My brother left his shoes in the floor and I tripped over them…again. My friend asks to borrow $5 and I know that if I give it to her there is a 78% chance I’ll never see it again. My parents ask me what I’m doing tomorrow for the ninth time. I have some choices to make. I could seek a just revenge and tell the teacher about the hallway, demand my $5 back, tell my parents about the shoes, or write a passive aggressive note. OR I could give them all something they don’t deserve. I have the choice to give them grace in the form of forgiveness and patience.
God had a choice to make too. I mess up all the time. I disobey Him and do what I want. But unlike me, He always chooses grace. No matter how bad I mess up, God has promised that if I turn back to Him, He will be faithful to forgive me. 1 John 1:9 promises, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I can’t ever do enough to be good enough for God. Fixing my sin is not as simple as picking up some books or returning $5, but through Christ it I can accomplish it. Ephesians 2:8 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is a gift of God.”