I recently went through a fire safety training where the demonstrator talked about how much of a mess it can cause when discharging a fire extinguisher. Of course, nobody wants to have to clean up a huge mess, but it’s even worse to have nothing salvageable to clean up because everything was completely consumed in a fire. In conclusion, he said, “When you have to choose between a fire and a mess, choose the mess!” To spare us from the wages of sin, which is death, to spare us from hell’s fire, we serve a God who chose the mess. He chose the bloody, messy cross, and although it’s been a mess, although we were a mess, He took the nails. He conquered death. He chose the mess!
After revisiting a detailed description of the physical death of Jesus Christ, I remain convinced that Golgotha was a terribly messy place and that anyone physically involved in the death of Christ left covered in the same blood that paid their price. Those committing the worst crime against Jesus were the most covered in His precious blood. It’s amazing how the worst circumstances and worst offenses make grace all the more incomprehensible and all the more invaluable. As Christ hung on the cross, He begged for forgiveness of those same, unrepentant sinners who were yet causing His death. They were covered and didn’t even know it, covered in His blood, and covered by His grace.
I’m continually struck by the messiness of grace. Grace refuses to be bound, refuses to be neatly packaged, refuses to land on just me or just you. It’s messy, overflowing onto everyone, getting all over everything. The same grace that is enough for you and me is sufficient for the most heinous of criminals, the most wretched of souls. Grace loves the people you can’t stand. No matter what you’ve done and no matter what’s been done to you, God’s grace covers you, covers the people you’ve harmed, and covers the people who’ve harmed you most. This comment is not at all to diminish the reality of suffering you may have experienced or the scars you may still bear, but those who’ve wounded you the deepest are living under the same grace by which you stand.
The most concise description of grace is: unmerited favor. We don’t deserve it. There’s nothing we can do to earn grace, and bless God, nothing we can do to be unworthy of it. Grace refuses to have an exclusive target, yet is determined to never miss its intended mark. A friend recently wrote a blog post, Grace Like Snow, and I had the thought, “Indeed, grace is like snow.” It’s not neat; it flutters on down, falling on everything around. What a mess the cross of our Lord surely was. What a mess the grace of our Lord surely is. It gets everywhere!
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