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"The Lord Is Gracious" (posted November 1, 2006)
If indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
- 1 Peter 2:3
How difficult it is for us to believe that the Lord is gracious! The natural feeling of our hearts is, "I feared you, because you are an austere [harsh] man" (Luke 19:21). Our consciences, when at all awakened to a sense of sin and of its hatefulness in the sight of God, think that He cannot be gracious.
Had Adam known the grace of God, he would not have hidden himself among the trees of the garden when he found himself naked (Genesis 3:6-11). So it is with us. The consciousness of being naked before God, apart from the understanding of His grace, makes us flee from Him.
On the other hand, there is sometimes the thought that grace implies God's passing by sin. Quite the contrary! Sin is so terribly bad that God cannot tolerate it. Were it in the power of man to patch up his ways and mend himself so as to stand before God, there would then be no need of grace. The very fact of the Lord being gracious shows that sin is so evil that nothing can meet man's need but free grace.
The Lord, who laid down His life for me, deals with me every day of my life on this principle of grace. How precious, how strengthening it is to know that He is at this moment feeling and exercising the same love towards me as He did when He died for me on the cross!
We should use this truth in a practical way. For example, suppose I am tempted, and I realize (as I should) that my own effort against it will never be sufficient; then let me bring it to Jesus as my Friend, and He will meet my need. My real strength will lie in my awareness of the graciousness of the Lord.
May the Lord then give us all to be learners of the fullness of the grace towards us which is in Christ Jesus.
John N. Darby