God is Gracious
God is gracious.
I begin in Genesis chapter one. God created everything. Genesis two, the narrative slows down and zeros in on the detail of God forming Adam and putting him in the Garden. Giving him the garden tending instructions, He also tells him he can eat from any of the trees, but do not eat from “the Tree of the Knowledge of Good & Evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” (v17). God then makes Eve. Both man and woman living in relationship and divine favor with their Creator. Genesis three, the serpent meets up with Eve, there’s conversation. She ends up eating and sharing the fruit from the forbidden tree with Adam. Instantly everything changes. Everything. In their disobedience, sin rushes in. God and man(kind) are now in a broken relationship, the relationship that was intended to be eternal.
God comes and finds the man (and woman). He addresses his position and condition. He is hidden and ashamed. There is blame-shifting, Adam to Eve, Eve to the serpent. God curses the serpent and to the woman, He pronounces she will suffer pain. He curses the very ground that Adam was formed, there will now be struggle and toil for man.
God then slaps His hands together and with a heavy sigh, “Good riddance and good luck out there” as He waves them off, sending them away.
No. Not that last part. Not like that.
The key is in verse 22 (chapter 3). They, Adam and Eve hadn’t eaten from the Tree of Life (yet). They HAD to leave; He does send them away. They were in a fallen state, broken relationship with their God. If they had stayed, they would have eaten from the Tree of Life, they would then live FOREVER in broken relationship. His sending them away and blocking the entrance to the way of the Garden was needed and merciful. He was gracious, still bestowing favor, in sending them away. Looking at this story from our angle, our timeframe, (we the descendants of Adam) and knowing the rest of the story – you can almost hear the Holy whisper as He points, telling them to go, “It’s alright, I have a plan…” The rest of the written Word is the description and history of that loving, gracious – redemptive plan.
God is gracious.
Gracious. Being gracious depicts the heartfelt response by someone who has something to give to one who has a need – someone who does not deserve or can repay what is given.* Man(kind) was in need! The Hebrew word conveys stooping, stooping in kindness.
Fast forward: Jesus.
Paul wrote to his son in the faith, Timothy:
“For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was His plan from before the beginning of time—to show us His grace through Christ Jesus. And now He has made all of this plain to us by the appearing of Christ Jesus, our Savior. He broke the power of death and illuminated the way to life and immortality through the Good News.” (2 Timothy 1:9-10, NLT – emphasis mine)
Grace is the absolutely free expression of the lovingkindness of God to men.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Eph 2:8-9, ESV)
Not only was it a gracious act of God to send man out of the Garden, but He also sent His Son. Sent in our place, making amends to restore relationship. Jesus, because of His life – death, blood atonement and powerful resurrection, was the appeasement needed for our sovereign pardon. We once were out – far off from God’s presence, now we are brought near (again). What an amazing divine gift, a very precious gift. Theologian, Arthur W Pink wrote, “Even though grace is unmerited favor, it must be exercised in a sovereign manner.” Planned by the Father, accomplished through His Son, accepted by mankind and applied by the Spirit. (BRILLIANT!)
God is gracious.
I strongly urge us to always consider the plan, the loving, gracious – redemptive plan. What God did to get us back. May we never-ever belittle it, dismantle it, devalue or abuse it.
God. Is. Gracious.
In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds.” – Hebrews 10:24)
*Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament