Since how we live is irrelevant to our being loved by God or earning His rescue of us, why obey? That question may seem strange, but not if we have wrestled with or experienced the unconditional love (grace) of God. In this final message in the series on grace, we look at Paul’s response to this question. Since we have been rescued from not just an old life and identity that leads only to increasing brokenness, into a new life and identity that leads only to increasing healing and restoration, what possible reason could we have to live according to the old identity any more?
Within the Bible there are a number of sexually immoral women who end up as trophies of God’s radical one way love (grace). These are a picture for us of our relationship with God and His invitation to restored relationship through His grace. Through a graphic message given through Ezekiel and an scandalous object lesson through the life of Hosea God shows His amazing grace is greater than any and all of our sin. Will we recognize how much we have been forgiven?
God’s grace shows clearly when we see it given to those who no one else would choose to love or invite into relationship. No one would have expected God to choose a pagan woman to be great-grandmother to Israel’s greatest king, nor that king be a murderer and adulterer and still called a man after God’s own heart. Both Ruth and David had the quality of humility and so accepted God’s invitation to relationship. We see in these two individuals that God’s love looks to hunt us down so we will see and invite Him to be the hero of our story too.
Will God continue to love me even when I have sinned against Him? Most of us ask this question in some way. The history of Israel, particularly in the era of Joshua and the Judges shows God’s overwhelming response to this question. Yes! From Rahab who ran a house of prostitutes, to a nation who continually rejected the God of Abraham for the gods of Canaan, to the judges who were largely morally flawed individuals… God kept loving and inviting His people and all people into personal relationship… all because of His amazing grace.
God’s grace continues through the Old Testament in the book of Exodus. From who God uses to bring rescue to Israel, to even rescuing Israel, God’s one way love shines. But what happens when God’s grace to Israel shown in His powerful deliverance and provision is rejected by Israel almost immediately? God goes camping with His people … all because of His incredible one way love (grace).
What made God choose Abraham? The reality is there was nothing about who Abraham was or what he did that qualified him for God’s grace. God simply chose Abraham by His grace. Then after giving Abraham some amazing promises, God did something that would have shocked Abraham and confirmed in the clearest possible way how strong God’s one way love for Abraham was. In this we need to remember “As we have been loved by God, so we are to love others.”
While we often turn to Genesis 1 & 2 for other questions, the main character of the chapters is God and His grace is fully on display. But the greatest display of God’s one way love is not found in creation nor in the role God gave humanity to fulfill in creation. God’s full commitment to love humanity, independent of our response, is shown in the difference in how He reveals Himself in chapters 1 & 2.