There is a force in the universe that flows from the heart of God. It's one of those ultimate laws, like the law of gravity. One of the major reasons, sometimes I think it's the very top reason, why God gave us the Bible, is to teach and explain this force.
The force goes by many names, but the main name is Grace. It's called Mercy, love, lovingkindness, faithfulness, tenderness, long-suffering, forgiveness, tender mercies, goodness, giving, generosity, patience, the new covenant, and more.
But the most common name is Grace.
Grace is the kindness of God toward people who don't deserve it. Grace is the love of God for people who are unworthy.
Grace exists because the Cross exists. Grace only exists because Jesus died on the cross. When he died, he satisfied the holiness of God, so that the love of God could be poured out on forgiven sinners without God compromising himself.
Grace is radical. Grace is counterintuitive. Grace is the opposite of religion, because religion means you have to perform your way to gain God's love. Grace is the most revolutionary force in the universe.
I've been a believer in Jesus, since I was a little boy. And I've been a pastor for most of my life. I can tell you that most churches, and most Christians, love Grace in principle and hate Grace in action.
The father showed his son Grace, and the older brother was angry.
There's a religious instinct that is super strong. It's allergic to God's Grace. It's always pulling us back into performance mode and into fear before God.
That's why I think something very special is happening here at Pathway Church.
It's only because we're intentionally, continually tuned in to God's radical, scandalous, truly amazing Grace.
It's the Bible's best kept open secret.
It's what got Jesus in trouble with religious people. It's what got the prophets of old laughed at, ignored, and thrown to lions.
It's been attacked by critics, ignored by theologians, and banned by clergy.
Churches water it down. Preachers mix it with law. Pastors temper it with works. Church-people hem it in with "yes-buts" and disclaimers. They pay lip-service to Grace, but they mean a lukewarm substitute for the real thing.
Real Grace is a blood-bought edifice of love and truth...
- so beautiful it takes your breath away,
- so complex you can't comprehend,
- so counter-intuitive you can scarcely believe,
- so simple a child can get it.
Such Grace is almost impossible to find, like diamonds hidden in the earth.
It's almost impossible to believe, because it feels too good to be true.
It's the Good News you've been looking for, maybe without knowing.
Grace is the outflow of the Cross of Christ. The free gift of Calvary Love.
Once you see it, you can't unsee it. It heals the broken places in your heart. It rewires the damaged circuits of your soul. It opens the door to heaven. It truly, really, actually sets the captives free.
Grace is my theme, because is Christ's theme.
It's the Bible's theme.