The way of grace

Babylonian Empire

Babylonian Empire

There is a section in the Book of Jeremiah in the Old Testament where God has the prophet Jeremiah proclaim destruction on the Babylonian empire. (Babylon was one of the great empires of the world, but as it turned out, their power came from God, who raised them up for the sole purpose of punishing His disobedient chosen people in the nations of Israel and Judah by conquering them and carrying them off into exile and captivity.) But Jeremiah also prophesied that God would preserve a remnant of people who would remain true to Him, and He would bring them back home.

“In those days,” says the Lord, “no sin will be found in Israel or in Judah, for I will forgive the remnant I preserve” (Jeremiah 50:20).

My mind immediately went through an interesting metamorphosis as I read this. First, I saw, “no sin will be found in Israel or in Judah,” and thought: You mean there was a time when a group of people were perfect? There was a time when the law actually worked?

But, of course, I hadn’t noticed yet the rest of the sentence: “… for I will forgive the remnant I preserve.”

Of course; I should have known that. There is only one way that anyone on earth can be without sin, and that is when God has forgiven the sins. That is the only way. We keep trying to go back to having something to do with this, but it’s no use. There is only one way, and that is the way of grace. Only one way you and I can be declared righteous and acceptable by God, and it’s by way of His forgiveness and grace. This is true for us, and true for everybody.

But isn’t it amazing, as familiar as I am with forgiveness and grace, how easily my mind goes back to the law. My first thought was not: Well. of course there wasn’t any sin because He forgave their sins. It was: You mean they were perfect?

The way of grace is what’s important for us today. This is our message, and this is why it’s called the gospel, or “good news.” It’s the announcement that Christ has forgiven everyone — all the sins of the world — on the cross.

How many of us have been reluctant to “witness,” or “share your faith,” or “tell somebody about Jesus,” or however we want to say it, because we don’t want to be one of those people who go around trying to convert everyone?

Well, we’re not converting people, or getting them to stop sinning, or getting them to renounce whatever it was they were believing before we came along; we are, quite simply, letting people know that their sins have been forgiven. That’s it. That’s our message. That’s grace turned outward.

If you knew someone you loved had been forgiven of all their sins, and the only issue was, they didn’t know it yet, wouldn’t you want to let them know?

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10 Responses to The way of grace

  1. Cynthia Vera says:

    Good Morning,

    This big book of Jeremiah has had me running through it, to just get to the safe parts, thank you for bringing light back to the truth that we need forgiveness not some new form of religion. I am now beginning to hear this message coming from many places,
    I could not bear life without forgiveness and I pray today someone hears this truth today. Ready, set, go! Thank you!
    Cynthia

  2. Mark Seguin says:

    Amen to this question and another great way to think about it too: “If you knew someone you loved had been forgiven of all their sins, and the only issue was, they didn’t know it yet, wouldn’t you want to let them know?”

  3. L. Jones says:

    John, I love your gospel of welcome but I work with some very legalistic Christians who are always challenging my “liberal” views. I can hear the comments already.
    ” you can’t be forgiven until you believe in Jesus Christ as your personal savior”
    ” you have to believe you sin and ask for forgiveness before your sins are forgiven”
    To me it’s like telling someone they have a free gift with their name on it and they just have to go pick it up, but I really struggle to know what to say to these “Nay Sayers”. To them telling someone their sins have been forgiven without including all the “rules” that go with it would be unheard of. John, I would really appreciate some wise words to help me deal with these questioning Pharisees.

    • Mark Seguin says:

      Have to “say” me too my fellow Catch friend L. Jones I am too looking forward to Pastor John’s words of wisdom to your post…. 🙂

    • jwfisch says:

      1. There are no rules. There is only : “Love God and your neighbor as yourself.”
      2. Jesus forgave those who crucified Him and didn’t ask if they believed in Him first.
      3. “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them.” (2 Corinthians 5:18-19) “Not counting people’s sins against them.” “Not counting people’s sins against them.” “Not counting people’s sins against them.” (How many times do we need to say this? And he’s not talking about just Christians here. He’s talking about all those who need to be reconciled to God (in other words, people who are not yet reconciled to God, in other words: sinners.) “Not counting people’s sins against them.” Let’s try that one more time, shall we? “NOT COUNTING PEOPLE’S SINS AGAINST THEM.”
      4. Did the woman caught in adultery ask for her sins to be forgiven? No, but they were.
      5. Did the paralytic ask for his sins to be forgiven? No, but they were.
      6. Did the prodigal son say he was sorry? Did he ask for forgiveness? Did he say he was wrong? Truth be told, he didn’t get a word out of his mouth before the Father went nuts over him, smothered him in his embrace, and threw him a party, no questions asked. And who was upset about this “liberal” behavior? Need I say more?

  4. Martha Nelson says:

    Amen, Brother!

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  5. L. Jones says:

    Reading your answer I just feel like a huge weight has lifted from me. Thanks so much John for answering my question with such freeing and powerful words! I look forward to sharing this Gospel of Welcome!

  6. A says:

    If a child(While at the age of 2-4) has disclosed that her daddy hurt her(I’m talking about she said her daddy poked her in the bottom with his finger and played with a toy in her front area(she pointed there)…CPS, cares and law enforcement say there isn’t any physical evidence…where is the protection for this little girl…she has disclosed…and all she asked her daddy was to say he was sorry for hurting her…..And the father turns it around trying to blame everything on the mother!!!

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