And from His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

John 1: 16, 17

 

From the very beginning of our existence, God has provided mankind with order, structure, and rules to live by. People have always been well versed, coached, and directed in the manner that God wants us to behave and in the underlying attitudes that He knows we must maintain in order to actually live that way. Yet our response, from the very first pair of humans until this person has been to turn a deaf ear and to head off in our own direction. Thus, we fight, injure, murder, and oppress each other, and none of these actions are the result of following the plan that God has laid out for us.

 

Because I am as guilty of this failure to follow the rules as anyone else, and I have deliberately turned away from what I know to be right too many times to recall, I am truly a chief recipient of the grace that God gave to us all through Jesus. This is the truest and the greatest gift that God has ever given to me, and this one gift is selected from an array of them that is too great in number and in wonder to count or to even consider. Jesus has given me a second chance, a third chance, and every chance that I have needed. He wants me to live in the full understanding and expression of His righteous and glorious way.

 

Still, grace is not an infinite get out of jail free card, for the truth that accompanies it has a powerful, eye opening quality of directing me to see the impact of my thoughts and actions. God doesn’t want to relate to us in the manner of a life guard at a dangerous beach where we continually ignore the warning signs and need to be pulled from the surf. He teaches us to read the signs, to assess the tides, and to become more powerful swimmers. Then, He sends us out with a mission to boldly enter into the dangerous waters of life so that we can lead others to the same life saving knowledge and relationship with Christ that has retrieved us from sin’s destructive forces. Grace and truth lead to understanding, wisdom, and strength when we allow the spirit of Christ to work in our hearts and minds. This is how we move closer to God and to living in the fullness of His gift of love.