The Word Grace**
Jesus came as an expression of the reality of God. That is why John called him Logos, which is Greek for “word”, which means the expression of a reality. It is for this reason that I study words, and spend so much time harping on them and their meaning. Satan is clever in his corrupting of words and thereby the corrupting of our thinking. We must ever be on our guard concerning words and their meanings, and think about them in depth, even over many years. I doubt, for instance, that I will ever stop thinking about the word “love”. It is a word that I have been studying for years now, and to corrupt a word that is so central to the Gospel is to corrupt the Gospel itself. And then their’s “Grace”, another word that is worthy of similar examination and contemplation. In this letter I will speak of one of the ways God has grace on us.
When I was a young man, I was flying alone in a small plane late at night. The fog had become so thick below that I was not able to complete my approaches to the runway at my destination, and I only had a few minutes of fuel left. After two attempts at the general aviation airport, my next plan was to attempt an instrument approach to the international airport nearby that had two runways side by side. Then, even if I couldn’t see the runway at the bottom of my instrument approach, I at least could still plan on landing straight ahead on what ever ground I happen to encounter in the fog between the runways. By doing this, so I reasoned, I would have a fair amount of certainty that the area between the runways would be clear of deadly obstructions. I felt pretty comfortable with my prospects with this plan, but I did not feel comfortable that I had enough fuel to see it through. So, there I was.
As I flew, alone, in the clear, a half mile or so above the thick fog below, it was quiet on the radio except for a conversation between a controller and a pilot on the ground somewhere. It seems that this pilot wanted the controller to call a friend to pick him up because the only phone available at the little airport where he was sitting was inside of locked offices. The controller was refusing to make the call and kept explaining that it would set a bad precedence. But the pilot was determined and complained that at that late hour the controller was only talking to one other airplane, which was me, and that he had the time to help. Then all of the sudden the controller interrupted himself, “Wait a minute!”, he said, “What are the weather conditions where you are?” The pilot told him that it was clear. The controller came right back to me and said that that airport was close by, and that I could make a visual landing there. I asked him to vector me to the airport, and in just a few minutes, by the grace of God, I was safe on the ground.
We generally think of that word “grace” as not counting our sins against us. But grace means so much more. In this particular instance, it meant saving me from an eternity of Hell fires, for if I had run out of gas on that foggy night, my prospects for surviving would not have been good. To be saved by God then, we must also survive until that moment of salvation, and it is only by His grace that we do. I can recount many close calls in my life, and those are only the ones that I am aware of. But by God’s grace, he allows us to survive. There are many other ways of understanding grace that were present toward me long before I was adopted into the Body of Christ, all of which were part and parcel to the sovereignty of God. Why me? I have no idea why, but I could give you a book’s worth of reasons why not. I don’t know why.
This grace that I received, even while a heathen, was still an act of being saved by grace. In fact, every aspect of my life, even before salvation, was grace, even as it is with every other human being that God saves. When we focus on ourselves, and the things that our flesh demands, it is tempting for us to see grace in a corrupted sense. That is, we see it as a permission slip to give in to our every carnal desire and then claim it to be under grace. Now, while it is true that we are covered by grace when we do succumb to temptation, it is not true that grace exists so that we can indulge carnal desires. Beware of those who preach grace in this way. There are many. Grace is much much larger than this and the expression of it through the Logos, which is the Word, is an expression that not only demands, but invites contemplation.
So, dear children, I pray that you would set out to grasp this thing called grace. I pray that the expression of it’s reality would not be corrupted in your understanding of it, nor mine. And I pray that our Father in heaven would grant us the wisdom to know the expression of grace through the Son in an ever increasing way.