On 12/30/11 I held a conversation with a brother who passed to me some information I couldn’t help but meditate on. And it was in this meditation that I heard the title to this article. ‘The Unrelenting Grace of God’, what a thought. I have looked back over my life and discovered that this statement describes the story of my life completely. What is it that caused me to turn to God? His unrelenting grace. When I tried to resist his call and turned my back on him, how did I find my way back? His unrelenting grace.
My childhood is filled with painful memories. Family members who, to this day, I have an estranged relationship with were very cruel to me. My Father died when I was 5 years old, and my mother raised me the best she knew how. While I always knew we were poor, somehow my mother never failed to see to it that we had what we needed. I was raised in the Seventh Day Adventist denomination and was well indoctrinated. I had few friends through high school and I chose a rebellious route in my teen years. I have been arrested twice for burglary and I came very close to losing my life at the age of 18 when I was shot by a gentleman to whom I posed no threat, needless to say, he felt otherwise. At 18 years of age, I ventured out on my own and ended up homeless and helpless, and with no one else to turn to, I turned to God. Basically, my childhood and teenage years are full of stories of how I rejected God, worshipped myself, hated His creation, and caused many people pain and suffering.
Through all of this I find Gods faithfulness and patience was true. Unrelenting Grace is only way to describe it. I turned to the father, true. But here is where we see the manifold wisdom of God. I drove myself to destruction, and God let me. I hated God, and God let me. I worshipped myself, and God let me. And when I was on the brink of destruction, God called me. A 12 month old baby is an example of man when he is left to lead himself. A 12 month old child will choke on a piece of food if it’s not properly chewed, or if the food just happens to slip past the teeth. But observe the behavior of the child. He/she will not only repeat the harmful action, they will often try to put more food in their mouth while they are choking. I didn’t know it at the time, but God had orchestrated a series of events in my life that would allow me to see what I was capable of when left to my own devices. Not only would I choke, but I would keep choking myself until I died. God performed a Heimlich maneuver on me, and then he set before me life and death. I could see now that the only way I could be saved from my imminent death and destruction was to call on the Lord, just as a child will cry out to a parent to save them. True to his word, I called on the Lord and he saved me.
Three times in his word, God affirms that “Whosoever calls upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved” (Joel 2:32, Acts 2:21, and Romans 10:13). God values freedom so much that he allows us free will, or the ability to choose. But he knows in his sovereignty what we have to learn in our depravity. If we are allowed to choose our own paths long enough we will inevitably lead ourselves into some form of self-destruction. God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ (2Peter 3:9). He gently draws us to repentance and to himself through loving-kindness.
The brother I mentioned at the beginning of this article aptly refers to grace as, “The space God allows us to be wrong”. What a great way to describe it, room to be wrong, an area in which we can learn and not be punished for it. What a radical idea. That God would think enough of man to redeem him from the death he sold himself into by choice, then restores man to his original position as Adam was. But that’s not all, then he takes it further, he is taking man beyond that place that Adam held as an innocent being into the position of Priest, Judge, King, and Prophet. And he has given us room to be wrong so that we can make mistakes and learn from them and grow more and more in his grace.
God is not some big bully waiting to crush us like ants when we screw up. Nor is he a weak pushover, who so “loves” that he never interferes in our affairs except to show his loving-kindness. But instead he is a balance between the two. A holy being, with a mind set on righteousness and the ability to make sure it happens, a just judge of all things, and a loving father. He hates evil in any and all forms and will ultimately destroy wickedness for his own names sake. He rules the universe, but not with an iron fist. He is intimately concerned with the individual lives of mankind. That is the true and the living God.
God has given his law to man in the form of the conscience and on stone tablets. And man can choose to resist and disobey that law. But if you choose to break the law, you also choose to accept the penalty by default. God’s law is good and will benefit us in the long run if we abide by it. He expects obedience and nothing less. But that’s not all. He also knows we can’t do it alone. So he has come to man in the Holy Spirit to show us the way. When we are born again, we receive the Holy Spirit as a help to us. He is how we can live according to Gods law.
So what right. Who cares about the law anyway? Well, God does, and as you grow and mature so will you. What is God’s Law anyway? Well, God gave ten “commands”. And these commands are his law. But more than commands they are prophecies. A prophecy is an absolute truth from God; in this case, it is a prediction. Gods command says, “You will have no other gods before me.” Sounds like a command right. But it is also a prediction. God is saying, “When I am done with you, you will not have any other god’s than me”. God has actually prophesied his law over us. We see again the unrelenting grace of God. When God speaks, things happen. So Gods pursuit of man does not stop at salvation. It continues into his walk with God, all the way until man becomes a completed image of God. Just as Jesus, the word of God says that Jesus was the express image of God (Heb. 1:3). What an idea, that we can be just like Jesus.
The pursuit of mankind by God through his grace is merciless, and unyielding. He has gone the full distance for everyman in his death on the cross. Now he continues his work through grace, what a mighty and blessed God we have to look to. If you are being pursued, then by all means yield to him and allow him to arrest you in his presence. In the unforgettable words of the Borg from star trek, “resistance is futile”.