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Monday, May 11, 2009

Those Dirty Guys

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old gained approval. Hebrews 11:1, 2 (New American Standard Version)

Abraham had a tendency towards being a liar (Genesis 12:13, 20:2), Jacob was a conniver and a thief taking advantage of his brother Esau to get the elder brother’s birth rite and later stealing his blessing (Genesis 25:30, 27:19), King David had a man murdered to cover his adultery with the man’s wife (2nd Samuel 11:15), the wicked king Manasseh led and encouraged Judah in idol worship (2nd Chronicles 33:13), Peter denied his Lord (Matthew 26:74), and before Saul became Paul he sanctioned the death of at least one Christian and was a respected leader in the persecution of the early church (Acts 8:1, Galatians 1:13). In the eyes of most people these trespasses would brand these fellows as a bunch of reprobates not to say some of them as outright criminals.

One thing I do know that as often as we pull away from obedience to the Lord grace for each one of us does much more abound (Romans 5:20). Grace is solid, overwhelming and always there for you and me. Abraham lied to Pharaoh and King Abimelech yet God made him the father of many nations (Genesis 17:4), Jacob the thief and conniver became the father of the 12 Tribes of Israel (Genesis 35:22-26). Manasseh repented and was restored to his throne ruling Judah for a total of 55 years (2nd Chronicles 33:13, 2nd Kings 21:1). Peter was restored to fellowship with the risen Christ (Mark 16:7). Paul became the chosen instrument to give the Gospel to the Gentile world (Galatians 1:15, 16).

The Lord God has been miscast by many as a cosmic killjoy or worse yet an impatient father ready to strike with fear, terror and punishment. In reality He is full of lovingkindnesses and graciousness to the point of blessing us in spite of ourselves, just like the men of old. As believers in Christ when others look at our mistakes and say “Why that dirty guy, “the Lord only sees His Son, living within us; His Son in whom He is well pleased. All He will say of us is, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Faith is trusting God will take care of us in all of our choices, even when we can be dirty guys. Grace to us is the incredible and finished work.