‘Limit One’. That's what the website told me as I was ordering some items. I have also encountered the warning that the stock was in short supply and that I should order soon. Many items are out of stock or on back order. Some people have waited several months for their items to arrive. Often the demand is far greater than the supply. We thought we might encounter that same kind of scarcity this year as it concerns our homemade salsa. In early June, most of our tomato plants were destroyed by hail. My husband replanted, and we wondered if we would have enough of that delicious fruit to eat, much less can. Because of our uncertainty, I limited the amount of salsa we ate during the summer. I reasoned that if we lacked sufficient tomatoes to make a batch, we could ration out last year's supply over the winter and spring; however, this week, the Lord's provision made it possible for us to put up several pints and quarts. We thank Him for His good gifts, James 1:17; 1 Timothy 6:17.
The uncertainty we felt concerning salsa is such a tiny thing compared with the uncertainty that bombards people all over the world. Lack or the fear of lack often causes life to be difficult. It seems that anything that people need is vulnerable to being in short supply. There is however, one notable exception. Grace! Praise God for his lavish offer of grace, John 3:16.
As the song, WONDERFUL GRACE OF JESUS says:
Wonderful grace of Jesus,
Reaching to all the lost,
By it I have been pardoned,
Saved to the uttermost;
Chains have been torn asunder,
Giving me liberty;
For the wonderful grace of Jesus reaches me.
Wonderful the matchless grace of Jesus,
Deeper than the mighty rolling sea;
Higher than the mountain, sparkling like a fountain,
All-sufficient grace for even me!
Broader than the scope of my transgressions,
Greater far than all my sin and shame;
Oh, magnify the precious Name of Jesus,
Praise His Name!
This matchless grace of Jesus surely has no limits, saving anyone who will embrace it. Let’s glimpse some examples from the Old Testament of this grace in action. Praise God that this same grace is still available today. These are quick snapshots of the grace God bestowed, and every detail of the accounts will not be shared; even so, these pictures of God's unmerited favor highlight the length and depth of His love.
1. Grace in the Garden. It didn't take long for human beings to need grace. It is true we don't know how much time elapsed before Adam and Eve transgressed the commandment of God, but whenever that act did occur, they stood in need of grace. How beautiful it is that In Genesis 3, we not only watch Adam and Eve's fall, we also see God's first offer of grace. He called out to them, He promised them that the curse they had brought upon mankind and the earth would one day be overturned and God made provision for both their physical and spiritual covering, Romans 8:20-22; Genesis 3:21. Grace meant that they weren't abandoned in their sin without Hope, Genesis 3:22-24.
2. Grace in the land of Moab. In Ruth 1-4, we meet Ruth. She was raised in idolatry, a citizen of a country which was often at enmity with Israel. Even so, God introduced himself to her through her mother-in-law Naomi and her sons and husband, and when she had the opportunity to embrace the One True God, she grabbed hold of grace. She left her false gods, her people and her country and came under the protection of Almighty God, Ruth 1:14-18; Ruth 2:12. If this weren't enough, because of her marriage to Boas, Ruth has the honor of being in the genealogy of Messiah as given to us in Matthew 1. Even though she was a foreigner, she is the reminder that God's grace has always been held out to anyone, no matter her background or past life of sin.
3. Grace in the prison. In 2 Chronicles 33:1-18, we meet a very unlikely candidate for grace, Manasseh. His wickedness is unbelievably flagrant. His cruelty and godlessness defy explanation. After all, his father was Hezekiah who loved the Lord. How does God hold out grace to this man? He uses the Babylonians as his means of getting Manasseh's attention. These ruthless people dragged away the king by shackling him and putting a hook in his nose. Then he was imprisoned, and that's where we read a most unlikely thing. He humbled himself and cried out to the Lord. Only when someone will bend low in humility and repentance will he see his need for grace. Manasseh finally got there. God's response? God was moved by his cry and listened to him, 2 Chronicles 33:13. Grace! Reaching the most defiled.
These are only three pictures of grace, but they show the vastness and richness of God's provision. There is no one beyond His reach of love, Romans 10:20-21. He has always been the seeking Savior, and His work continues today. I love talking about the wonderful grace of Jesus, but though it is freely offered today, I must share one warning. A day will come when the time for receiving grace will be at an end. Anyone who dies before receiving Jesus' gift of salvation will spend eternity away from His grace in hell, Revelation 20:11-15. Jesus' offer is unlimited while we are alive, but there is no receiving it once death has come. At that point, the offer won't be extended.
We long for you to become one of the "whosoever" mentioned in John 3:16. Jesus' grace covers every sin you have ever or will ever commit, but to receive the forgiveness you must say yes to His grace.