Grace Extended

“It does one good to see the fine side of people we’ve always seen the worst of.” - C.S. Lewis

Jesus is several years into His ministry when He approaches Jericho in Luke 19. His disciples saw storm waves dissipate at His word, Pharisees witnessed healing on the Sabbath, and demons fled in His name. Jesus continually made His mission clear:  He “came not to call the righteous, but sinners” (Matthew 9:13). Nevertheless, when Jesus stops at the base of the sycamore tree with Zacchaeus perched in its branches, those around Him grumbled saying, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner” (Luke 19:7). To the bewilderment of those around Him, He once again uses the sinner to educate the righteous. 

Our man-made scale of Biblical Justice is convenient, well crafted, and ill fated. In times of self-doubt and insecurity, I default to its use in an attempt to remain superior and “better off” than my neighbors. I might mask the act as spiritual; but no matter the motive, the act of playing God with triviality places limits on His limitless grace. It is essential for us to remember that our inadequacies are a prerequisite for coming before the Lord. We all approach Him with the expectation that we do not deserve to be in His presence.

God has fashioned His creation to glorify His justice in the work of redemption. Scripture assures us that Christ’s death on the cross adequately covered the sin of each of us. There is no room for our pride and self-righteousness in the presence of our Savior. God knits us with a compulsion to seek justice and right wrongs; we see injustice in the world and desire to play an active role in its resolution. There is a place and mission for this; but as recipients of grace, we must not lose sight of the fact that we are called to extend grace in return.

By Bethany Taylor

Bethany has been calling Immanuel Baptist her church home since 2014. A graduate of the University of Kentucky College of Nursing, she is now an obstetric nurse here in Lexington.

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