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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Grace period

My last water bill contained a penalty charge of $5.98. I picked up the phone and dialed the water company to enquire about the charge. The lady on the other end informed me that I had paid my bill two days late and had incurred a penalty.

Feeling unusually testy I said, "I pay my bill just two days late and I get a penalty?"

She replied, "I'm sorry. There's no grace period."

Those words stayed with me all day.

No grace period.

Where would we be if God had not extended His grace to us by sending His Son Jesus Christ to redeem us from our sins? Or what if, like the water company, as soon as we did something wrong, he inflicted punishment on us? Thank God for His grace. Thank God that He tempers His law with grace.

Some people, anxious to excuse acts of wrongdoing, say we are now under grace and not under the law. It is true that grace came to us through Jesus Christ, but even He said, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill" (Matthew 5:17).

Therefore the law is a "schoolmaster" to help us distinguish between right and wrong. "What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet" (Romans 7:7).

In the same way I would not have known about the penalty had the water company not imposed one. However, while I had no choice but to pay the penalty, we who are in Christ can "come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in the time of need" (Hebrews 4:16).

And that's the difference. Law punishes, but grace forgives. Which one will you choose?

Heavenly Father, how grateful we are that through the blood of Jesus Christ we have grace and forgiveness for our sins. We accept this precious gift, Lord along with your laws and precepts, and it's in His name we pray. Amen
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