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Grace overwhelms

            First,
grace overwhelms injustice. Grace sizes things up with laser-beam accuracy.
Grace diagnoses you and me as “sinners” in that you and I have each
committed scads of injustices, some of them intentionally and some of them not.
It sees us as “unjust” and, instead of sending us into the frying pant
to get scorched, grace sees through us to what God wants us to be and forgives.
Grace scans us completely and it sees the dreams we tell others we believe in
and it sees how fall short we fall of our own dreams. Grace looks us over, the
way teenagers look one another over, and it says “you are not what you
think you are and not what you claim you are and not as good as you
think.” But instead of walking away, grace walks up to us, hugs us, and
says “Come with me to Jesus and you will find a life made new. Come to me
because I will wipe away those injustices and that lack of commitment and that
failing to realize your dreams and that pretense.”

            The
really good news about grace is that our sin, our injustices, all are failings
to accomplish what we think we should accomplish, is no match for what grace
can do. We keep adding to our pile of injustices, but grace keeps pace and then
some. I love what the apostle Paul said: “But where sin increased, grace
increased all the more” (Rom 5:20).  This English translation
doesn’t quite do it for me because Paul uses two words here: sin pleonazes (that’s my own made-up
word based on the Greek word) but grace hyper-perisizes (I made this one up too). Another way of
putting this is that sin multiplies but grace swarms and overwhelms.


            I
have a friend who played professional golf for a living. He’s got a cool name:
Kermit Zarley. We’ve played golf a few times and I’m not bad, but I’m no match
for the pro. I’ve beaten him fair and square on about five holes in all our times
of playing together (you don’t need to know the number of holes we’ve played
together).  On our second time playing golf together I was itching
finally to take one hole from him. We were on a par three and I hit the green –
about 30 feet from the hole and then I drained the putt. I danced a little jig
and trumpeted to Kermit that he had his work cut out for him now.  He
did. He had what is called a double-breaker – his putt would first start
curving one direction and then it would curve the other direction. When I
danced my little jig and uttered my little dare, something happened in the
Zar-Man’s eyes and I knew he meant business. You guessed it. That putt broke
one direction and then another and then “plop!” the ball went into
the cup. Kermit looked at me, did his little jig and let me know I was no match
for him. And I’m not. Not even close. Hole after hole has proven it. Sometimes
I have this little idea that I might beat him on the hole and then he realizes
I’m gaming up and the next thing he pulls it off and I lose. Every time.

            Sin
and grace are in the same game. No matter how good sin’s skills, grace wins
every time. Every time. Grace overwhelms sin. Completely overwhelms sin every
time.  The gospel is the good news that God can forgive us because
God’s grace overwhelms sin every time. Most people call this
“forgiveness” but “overwhelming” says even more. We are
forgiven of our injustices and our sins because grace just overwhelms the
stuff.

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