“Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Romans 5: 20)
As we mark the incarnation of our Lord Jesus, let us remember that we are celebrating God’s grace upon us in sending His Son to purchase us by this precious blood to make us His own people. And because of this grace He had to put on our human nature.
Grace is common word in the Bible. The Hebrew word is often translated “favour” and carries the idea of acceptance and even of affection. The same word is used of the pleasantness for a charming woman and the attractiveness of precious stone. The corresponding verb means ‘to be gracious’ especially in dealing with the needy and the sinful. It implies a gracious provision of needs without the recipient deserving it or having to pay for it.
Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord (Genesis 6: 8) so did all the people of God. In the New Testament, the Greek word is often used for graciousness, gracious care, gracious help, favour, and goodwill. But it is especially used of the gracious favour of God and of Christ who give undeserved gifts and unmerited help and salvation to mankind. This is seen in its highest degree at calvary. There God gave His Son as His love gift for the salvation of a world full of sinners.
The world did not deserve it because of the world’s rebellion against God. In the Old Testament, the constant sin and rebellion of the people brought stormy clouds of divine judgement that often kept the people from seeing the manifestation of God’s grace. The manifestation that did come was limited. They did not appear to all men. But when Jesus came, the clouds were all rolled back and the God-man walked this world personally bringing the grace of God to all. This is the significance of the incarnation we mark today. God’s unlimited grace however, will only remain unlimited if we are conscious of the great responsibility it bestows on us.
Paul once asked, shall we remain in sin that grace may abound? The answer was and is still a resounding “NO”.
Therefore, if we are really following the leading of God’s grace, we will turn our backs on godless ways of worldly, earthly centred desires of our former life. We will not wait for the millennium to change. We will live a life that shows self-control, holds to what is right and serves God with reverence and devotion.
We will be aided by God’s grace which leads us to keep looking with joy and happiness. It is hope that God blesses us because it focuses our attention on the appearance in the glory, brightness, majesty and splendour of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ.
May our loving father continue to shower upon us His unlimited grace.
Your brother, Vicar & Archdeacon