"God's law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God's wonderful grace became more abundant." Romans 5:20 (NLT)
He appeared out of nowhere. Blue lights burst on right about the time I laid eyes on his intimidating, unmarked SUV.
Immediately I checked the speedometer. It confirmed what the officer knew: I was speeding. A sinking feeling knotted my stomach as I prepared to receive the punishment for my inadvertent disobedience of the traffic laws.
I watched in my rear view mirror as the police car crept up behind me. With driver's license and registration in hand, my fingers tapped in irritation on the steering wheel. My scowl deepened as I impatiently waited for the policeman to walk to my window. "Ma'am, I stopped you for speeding. Driver's license and registration please."
Then it happened. The unexpected. The unwarranted. The undeserved.
The policeman glanced into my car and checked out my passengers (including my three deer-in-the-headlights kids in the back seat). Then he startled us all by blurting out a big ol' Southern "Hey!" to my husband, calling him by name.
Apparently they had grown up in church together and proceeded to spend a couple of friendly minutes reacquainting. He handed back my license and registration and gave me a smile. "Slow it down please, and have a good day."
We sat stunned and breathed a collective sigh of relief as I drove away - slowly, I might add.
I had not paid attention to the guidelines set forth. My guilt was obvious, and I had no excuse. I deserved to suffer the consequences, but instead I was given grace.
Grace is undeserved favor or pardon. We can't earn it or buy it. It's something the giver bestows out of the goodness and love in their heart. The Bible tells countless stories of people who received grace, including prostitutes, unfaithful marriage partners, deceivers, thieves, liars and more. Their sins deserved a punishment, but when they asked God for forgiveness, His grace wiped their guilt away. They were treated as pardoned offenders - just as I was.
In today's key verse, Paul is reminding the people of Corinth that despite their sin, God is good, and the Giver of grace. It serves as a reminder that God not only offers grace – He offers it in abundance. The more we need, the more we get.
Although God hates sin because it separates us from Him and ushers pain into our lives, His grace is available no matter how big our offense may be. And when we receive the pardon that was paid through the sacrifice of His Son, and begin a relationship with Jesus Christ, we receive grace, forgiveness and mercy.
As much as I appreciated the grace extended to me from the officer that day, it paled in comparison to God's grace. You see, the officer's grace was one of kindness, but not one of redemptive love. It was a grace of compassion, but not the life-saving grace Jesus gives.
The truth is, I deserved a speeding ticket that day but grace was given. In the same way, although we deserve punishment for sin, God's forgiveness and favor are offered anyway… through the gift of His unexpected, unwarranted and undeserved grace.
Dear Lord, thank You for the undeserved gift of grace. Forgive my sins, and shower me with Your favor, even though it is undeserved. Thank You for loving me enough to grant me pardon for my mistakes. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Reflect and Respond:
Ask God to forgive you for your sins, and believe that His grace is limitless.
Consider how God's grace is limitless and undeserved, yet He gives it anyway. Is there someone you need to offer grace?
Do you need to confess your doubts to God, and commit to believe in His unconditional forgiveness, maybe for the first time?
Ephesians 2:8, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God." (NIV)
Romans 3:23, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (NIV)
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