Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds
from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice,
correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.
“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are
like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson,
they shall become like wool. –Isaiah 1 vv. 16-18
I often feel that the world I reside in, is designed in a particular way. A way, which tells me it is the place I was born into. The place I must come to accept depending on what I am up against. Spaces of things and people grasping at my soul, quietly telling me all is well! Odd effects–as perception gently tells me that although it may appear there’s a predetermined state of arrangement in this life we live, God assures us through His Word that the passions of unholiness, of unkindness, of self-absorbed behaviors, of these and more, can be easily rearranged when we choose to abide in Him.
God’s promises of continued grace, offer me clarity as I attempt to add to my previous reflection on grace. I also know that God’s grace in its continuance, is projected through a dear friend God placed in my life for just about ten years now. I experience this everlasting grace through friends at church, the women of weekly Bible study, as well as in kind and generous people I meet. I also experience grace in challenging people and circumstances. In all and all, new opportunities are presented to garner possibilities to know Him more.
There’s a thing about “unrushed reflection”. Unrushed reflection provides slower movements and thoughts. We think before we speak. And to speak not grounded in insecurity, frustrations, or even the need of wanting something we cannot have. As the summer season is waning, I must manually rototill some areas of the lawn to replant seeds and aerate other parts. This must be done before the ground freezes. As it is completed in early Spring, these most difficult tasks, must likewise be accomplished in late summer. In the next few days, they should be crossed off my list of to-dos. Am I looking forward to doing this? Of course not. But to secure the rewards of such a trying endeavor, I am motivated to get it done.
The Bible, a book for us, must likewise be given time.
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim. 3 vv. 16-17).
Having and holding on to the concept of righteousness may seem peculiar to some. But righteousness is a necessity in our walk with God. To live for righteousness means we unreservedly come to know that sin is not pleasing to God. In this knowledge, we embrace holiness instead of sinfulness in our judgments, speech, and behaviors. When we affirm righteousness, we readily give up our thoughts to what is good, as we yield ourselves to God.
To build grace to share grace, we must understand God’s grace feely given to us. The journey to this ever-increasing understanding takes commitment and openness to His generous guide. A guide for us, which is exceedingly precious, only when we know the Bible’s real meaning; not in what we believe God’s Word says to us. For instance, I recently heard a sermon on the story of Samson (Judges 13-16). However, the sermon I listened to—I listened to it only to better know how some pastors interpret Samson’s story. In the sermon, a great deal of verbiage was thrown to the congregation. I dare not even repeat some of the falsehoods of tried clarification, which led me to a state of confusion and deep disappointment.
This confusion and disappointment, though heartbreaking, brought me back to what I know of Samson’s story. Based on my consistent study of ancient Christian traditions, Samson himself was a type and shadow of Christ. Samson from the tribe of Dan was a proud and immoral person. God chose to use his story to show us what was to come. When Samson died, his arms were stretched out to both sides as he tore the pillars down. When he died, his arrogant, proud, and immoral patterns of life died with him.
Samson was a type of Christ because he was the vastest of all judges. When Samson died, he likewise killed many of God’s enemies. As in Jesus who devastated the enemies of God and His church. Samon’s arms were stretched out, as Christ’s arms were when He died for us.
The ancient preacher Jonathan Edwards wrote:
“…the true Samson does more towards the destruction of his enemies at his death, than in his life, in yielding up himself to death, he pulls down the temple of Dagon, and destroys many thousands of his enemies, even while they are making themselves sport in his sufferings; and so he whose type was the ark, pulls down Dagon, and breaks off his head and hands in his own temple, even while he is brought in there as Dagon’s captive.”
God’s grace is habitual. It never stops, but how do we fulfill this same grace in our lives?
First, we must create spaces and moments to read and understand God’s Word. Furthermore, we must consistently pray for correct understanding. Additionally, knowledge of God’s Word leads us to the reason the Bible was written, that of–Christ is all. When we follow Jesus, His grace comes. His love is consistent, and His joy is new every morning. Our hearts are refreshed, which in turn allow for good changes and meaningful grace to transmit to others. Jesus’ grace is always available. Let’s allow Him in.
“Never complain of the times, but cease to do evil, and labour to do well, and all will be well; get but better hearts, and better lives, and you will quickly see better times (Isa. 1 vv. 16-19; Brooks, 1866).
Growing together, inside and out.
Brooks, T. (1866). Crown and glory of Christianity. Bottom of the Hill Publishing. (pg. 153).
Edwards, J. (1734). Sermons and Discourses (Vol. 19). Retrieved here
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserve