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. 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 that 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. Grace is another word that is worthy of similar examination and contemplation.
When I was a young man years ago 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 at my destination, and I only had a few minutes of fuel left. My next plan was to attempt an instrument approach to another airport nearby that had two runways side by side. Then, even if I could not maintain the approach, I could still feel certain that the area between the runways where I could “crash” onto the airport if I had to, was clear of obstructions. I felt pretty comfortable with my prospects with this plan, but I did not feel comfortable that I had enough fuel to carry it out.
As I flew, alone, in the clear that night, 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 was inside of locked offices. The controller was refusing 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. The controller suddenly said, “Wait a minute!, what is the weather like where you are?” The pilot told him that it was completely clear where he was sitting. The controller came right back to me and said that that airport was closer and that I could make a visual landing there. I asked him to vector me to the airport and in 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 while I was yet a sinner, for if I had depleted my fuel on that foggy night, my prospects for surviving would not have been good. To be saved by God, we must survive until that moment of salvation, and it is only by the grace of God 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 the grace of God he allowed me 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 whom 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 our every carnal desire. 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.