Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Amazing Grace

We're ruffling feathers by exploring the idea that God is equal, not fair. Yesterday, I left you with the question: what, exactly, is fair about the Cross? 

See, the math that God is doing is not as complicated as the math that we try to do. We have all of these categories, all of these "understandings" about human beings that shape the way that we think about things. Rich, poor, black, white, slave, free, smart, dumb, left, right, gay, straight, typical, divergent, old, young, and on and on and on we go, and then whatever we do in response to an individual basically starts where they're at - with whatever we've calculated their "score" to be - and then tries to get them to 100% by making up the difference. By filling however much empty space we find in their life with fullness. We call this fairness. 

God's idea is a little different.

In God's approach, we are all 0. All of us. We all have nothing that we bring to the table. There is none among us righteous, no, not one.

Let's stop right there because this really offends our sensibilities. Most of us believe that there are differing degrees of "good" in humans. We, ourselves, are "more good" than the "average" human being. We believe that going to church, believing in God, donating our time and money, reading our Bible, whatever gives us some kind of an edge with God. Whereas someone who smokes, drinks, curses, prostitutes themself, and maybe even dances, has a lower starting point with God. 

We believe that we, who have never murdered someone, definitely have a higher starting point than someone who has committed murder. And we're better than rapists, too. And child abusers. And addicts. And homosexuals. And...add whatever pet sin your church has picked into the blank here. We all have a list. We have a list of persons that we know we are better than, and we firmly believe that God sees this, too. That God sees that we are better than others. That we are one of the "good" persons on earth. 

But that's not the way that God sees it. That's not the way that God sees us. 

It hurts our hearts to say that, to say that God doesn't recognize our goodness. And it's not quite that. Rather, if we were to say that God sees that we are better than someone else in some measurable way, we would have to also say that God sees something more disappointing in someone else than He sees in us. 

And the Bible is quite clear - if you have broken one letter of the law, you've broken the whole thing. If you have committed one sin, you have committed the worst sin. Because sin is a breaking of the covenant with God, which is based on His perfect character and goodness. And there is no degree of difference in how much you break a covenant - either you keep it entirely or it's broken. Period. Ask anyone who is in a marriage covenant - either you are entirely faithful or you're not faithful at all. There is no "little" unfaithfulness. One step astray, and the entire covenant is broken. 

If you have coveted your neighbor's donkey, you are just as guilty as someone who has dishonored their mother or father. And both of you are just as guilty as someone who slept with someone they weren't married to. And all three of you are just as guilty as someone who lied. And all four of you are just as guilty as someone who took the Lord's name in vain. With God, your circumstances - your race, your age, your disability, your intellect, your finances, your sex, your traumatic past - don't matter. You come into this covenant with nothing. Zero. Zip. There are none who are righteous. Not even one. 

God, then, gives equally to everyone - 100%. God gives the fullness of His sacrifice to every single one. There is not one of us who needs less than 100% of what Jesus did for us. There is not one of us who does not need the entire shadow of the Cross to fall on us. Not one. And in that sense, then, God is equal, not fair. Because He gives to every single one of us exactly the same measure. 

He gives it all. 

And that, my friends, is what we call "amazing grace."  

No comments:

Post a Comment