The Season of Grace

God called Abraham to a life of faith and obedience to Him, and promised to bless him and make him a blessing to all the families of the earth Genesis 12:1-3~…Abram, Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great…I will bless those who bless you…in you all families…shall be blessed. (ESV) 

This was God’s promise of grace, that in Abraham all the families of the earth would be blessed, which came to fulfillment through Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham Matthew. 1:1~(ESV) Abraham became an heir of God by grace, and we who believe in Jesus Christ become heirs of God by grace. To be made an heir of God means our sins are forgiven we are brought into a right relationship with God, and we have this blessed assurance that Jesus is ours and we have eternal life. This week we turn to our last installment of the Law and Grace: As we look at the Season of Grace: Promised, Fulfilled, Received. 

The Promise of Grace. Galatians 3:11-25 Ever noticed when you read the Old Testament that there is a shape or foreshadow of what we find in the New Testament? Sacrifice, righteousness, even scapegoating, the concept first appears in Leviticus, in which a goat is designated to be cast into the desert to carry away the sins of the community. Isaiah 53:4~Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. (NASB) When we consider the promise of Grace, given to Abraham by God some 4,000 years ago, why would it be of interest to a Christian today? Because Abraham’s life of believing and receiving the promise of God was a foreshadowing of the way we believe and receive the promise of God by faith in Jesus Christ. All promised blessings of a right relationship with God come by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

God’s love language

A Flow of God’s Love. God’s love flows through us, our lives and actions, each sharing His great Love with the world. Like any true God-written love story, Mary and Joseph’s love didn’t end with themselves. It was built upon the foundation of God’s perfect, supernatural love, and they trusted God and followed Him on a crazy journey. Life may have you feeling a little deranged this holiday season, and so I remind you that when Mary and Joseph opened their hearts to God’s love, He allowed it to flow right through them as a small current in an overwhelming ocean of love. 

Mary and Joseph in it together: a long journey to Bethlehem, the night desperate, a birth pressing, humanity longing. Messiah to shed abroad the love of an eternal lifetime with God. This love brought peace to our lives, as shepherds in chorus raise; exotic wise men bring gifts; Simeon and Anna, temple prophets who recognize their Savior, all in this tiny baby angelic visits and warnings to flee, This is a love story of salvation in Jesus.

Our Takeaway: God’s love is offered to You, to the world. In this Advent season, we have the opportunity to reflect on and share the Love of God. John 13:34-15~A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.” As you pray now, why not open your heart and life up to the love of God today. Love will make a way for you.

“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” —Ephesians 3:17–19

A story of God’s love

God gives love. Mary’s journey to cousin Lizzy’s couldn’t have been easy, a long hot walk down an even lonelier road. Where mile-after-mile she mulled over the ever echoing recent conversations. The pain and hurt she witnessed in Joseph’s eyes, as a man not intimately involved, this was a lot to process. Her family’s confusion, yet always smiling back at her was the Love of God, the fond hope delivered by angelic promise. Mary knew the real truth, no matter who else may have spoken. God knows the perfect thing at precisely the right moment. This must be when Mary arrived at Zech and Lizzy’s. Greeted by Luke 1:42~Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!” Elizabeth exclaimed.

Can you imagine the relief? Love immediately rushed in like a cascading waterfall. As God’s miracle of proclamation pronounced Luke 1:43~Lizzy sharing in her own joy, joined praising God. Mary bolstering with these words “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.” Luke 1:50-51~In the midst of Mary’s human crisis, God’s love, perfectly prescribed, her life reveals the way God’s love works. As we walk in God’s love, He knows just what we need and He brings us support from others around us. The flip side shares how He often uses us to provide love and support for others.

In Joseph’s case, his needs were a little different. Back in Nazareth in his pain and confusion, it left him deciding what to do. He couldn’t believe this was happening. While legally he could’ve taken Mary to court, tried and potentially stoned her, yet, he still loved her. That’s when our supernatural love story reveals God’s intimate knowledge of our lives. And Joseph gets a visit by his own angelic messenger: Matthew 1:20~Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. Matthew 1:21~She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus because he will save his people from their sins (ESV). 

Notice how God knew exactly what was at the center of Joseph’s hurt: It was fear. So, God gave Joseph the reassurance he needed to trust Mary and let love grow. Ultimately he placed his trust in the Lord. Where is your trust today? God and His love always makes a way. Just like in their amazing, unbelievable, dangerous, supernatural, and an ultimately triumphant love story like nothing either of them could have ever imagined

Joseph chose to love and trust, Mary chose to love and trust. John encourages us to choose love and trust. Just read the best 3:16—John 3:16~For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (KJV) The life of Jesus brought to this couple is a beautiful reflection of God’s own choice to love and foster a relationship with each of us. Even though our sin means death and separation from the holy perfect God His nature of pure love, chooses us—that’s why Jesus Christ came, to save sinners. 1Tim1:15 A Tale of Love: A Set-Up, A Story, A Gift, A Flow.