‘Tis grace has brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.
One of the most common commands given thoughout the Bible is “Fear not.” One of the most common promises, repeated over and over in the Bible, is the promise of God’s goodness. The Hebrew word checed, variously translated as goodness, kindness, mercy, favour, grace or steadfast love is used over 240 times in the Old Testament alone. We don’t have a word in English that combines the ideas of strength, steadfast love and generosity, so we have to make do with several words or a word combination. Lovingkindness is one of them.
Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love [checed] endures forever. (Psalm 106:1)
The New Testament word charis is usually translated as grace.
And God is able to make all grace [charis] abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance [perisseuo] for every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:8)
The word translated “abound” here, persisseuo, means abundant, overflowing, exceeding a fixed number, excelling, exuberant, extremely rich, over and above, hyper. What is grace that is not “hyper?” Almost enough grace? Barely adequate grace? Scratch-and-dent grace? OK, but you’d better watch it next time grace? Is there anything about God’s grace that is less than amazing?
Can we honestly give God too much credit and not be overwhelmed with thankfulness and praise for every good thing He gives? Can we dare to freely join his His big picture plan with abandon?
Can we stop blaming God for the consequences of our own sinful choices? And can we please stop attributing to Him the works of the evil one, the thief who comes to steal kill and destroy? What is it that overcomes the evil one’s accusations and constant messages of fear and doom and the oldest doubt in the world, “Did God really say?” Is it not by the power of the blood of Jesus Christ, by telling our God-stories, and being willing to voluntarily love Him back with everything He has given us, including our very lives?
And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. (Revelation 12:11)
God knows we seem to need to hear both messages a lot –Fear not, and His lovingkindness endures forever. The assurance of checed is given 240 times in the Old Testament alone. Strangely I find both messages stir up a deep anger in many people who consider themselves to be dutiful Christians. I’m always surprised when stories of God’s goodness in times of trouble when we rely on him, and times of need when we expect Him to give us provisions for the tasks he assigns us, elicit angry responses of “Yeah, but….”
Still, I can’t condemn them when at times I find myself worrying about the future. I hear the Lord asking me, So what has brought you through troubles and tribulations so far?
Grace. Your lovingkindness.
Then don’t be afraid.
Grace, abundant, amazing, overflowing, steadfast, loving, kind, merciful grace will continuously be with you, because I have promised to never leave you, and checed and charis are part of My character. I don’t lie. I don’t change. I AM love. I give abundant grace.
I promise. That’s why I gave my only Son. That’s why my Holy Spirit lives in you. I AM love.
And you can take that to the bank.