“Instead”

This morning I was thinking about “grace”. Honestly I felt a bit like an ignorant beggar… I know so little about something I need so much.

One of the most famous “grace” scriptures is found in Ephesians 2:1-10 so I went there to read and linger.

I read these words from “The Message” (a version of the Bible):

It wasn’t so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It’s a wonder God didn’t lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us! Then he picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah.

Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.

As I read these verses one word arrested my attention:

It’s a wonder God didn’t lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us.

“Instead.”

I rolled this word around in my mind for a while then looked up the definition: In the place of something previously mentioned; as a substitute or an equivalent.

It didn’t take me long as I thought back over my days to realize that it is a wonder that God didn’t lose His temper with me and do away with me. Seriously, I’ve lost my temper with my children for less and sent them away from me (e.g. to their room) for infractions much less damaging than ones I’ve committed.

I’ve done much worse than anything my children have done so I wouldn’t blame God if He sent me away. But grace assumed its stance and “instead” took over!

Instead of sending me away or doing away with me God, “immense in mercy and with an incredible love, embraced [me].”

Instead of what was previously mentioned (being done away with) I got something unexpected and new… an embrace from my God.

That’s grace… and I’m grateful for it.

Now I want to go hug my kids.

One thought on ““Instead”

  1. You have never written anything more fundamental and meaningful. What you have written is true of all humanity, but most… for me. Grace so amazing, so divine. I have fallen in love with the hymn, “I Then Shall Live.” The first line says, “I then shall live as one who’s been forgiven.” All because of his grace.

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