September 27, 2016

How Far Grace Goes

1 Corinthians 1:1-3

To those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be his holy people . . . Grace and peace to you. . . .

—  1 Corinthians 1:2-3

We’re not sure what happened when my friend Ron died in a car crash. Did the car malfunction? Did Ron have a stroke or a heart attack? We don’t know. It could also be that Ron was drunk or on drugs or even that he crashed on purpose.

If so, it would mean that Ron had sunk into misery again. It would mean that after our small group of believers there stopped meeting, and after his friend Andy died, Ron fell back into old patterns of despair and old methods of coping.

You might say, “Well, if so, then Ron went to hell.” Other people might conclude that sanctification is a cruel pipe dream. If sanctification is just a matter of trying and trying but continuing to fail, then what’s the point?

But no! Don’t buy any of that. Get rid of those thoughts. Sanctification in and through Christ is God’s work, by God’s power, according to God’s vision. We are treasures in God’s eyes, even in our worst moments. A gold mine is mostly mud, but the treasure is there. And God doesn’t forsake his people, in spite of the mud.

Read the whole book of 1 ­Cor­in­thians, and notice all the mud. Yet Paul calls the people sanctified brothers and sisters.

This is how God sees it. And this is how God saw it at the moment of Ron’s death, no matter the circumstances. In Christ, nothing separates us from the love of God.

Faithful God, according to your love, remember me. Today again I rest in your hands. For Jesus’ sake, Amen.

About the author — Keith Mannes

Keith Mannes serves as pastor at Highland Christian Reformed Church in McBain, Michigan. Keith and his wife, Alicia, recently celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary,
and they are thankful for their three children—Eben, Charis, and Breanna.

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