Links Daily Devotional

The Advent of Grace

This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. (2 Timothy 1:9-10, NIV)

Maybe you know the day you fell in love with golf. A friend took you to the driving range, and once the ball got airborne you really found pleasure in seeing it take flight. It didn’t always go where you wanted, but that too was part of the pleasure, for in its difficulty to master, the game promised an ongoing challenge.

I can’t say it was like this for me. My earliest memory in golf was being roundly smacked in the chin by the blade of a 4-iron. I was standing too close to a neighbor kid in my backyard, and the result was a lost tooth, lots of blood, and a trip to the hospital for eight stitches. Somehow from there, I’ve gone on to nearly 50 more years in the game.

Whether you came to golf by pleasure or by pain, you wouldn’t be playing today if there wasn’t a sense of enjoyment and whatever modest accomplishment. We stay in the fight, so to speak, when we see a chance for winning. Otherwise, we might as well avoid the punches and go do something else.

So what happens when doubt creeps into your walk with Jesus, when present conditions aren’t enough to push you forward?

It is then that we do well to cling to words of lasting truth.

Here’s one: “This grace was given us in Christ before the beginning of time.”

It is easy to think of grace as a future blessing, when all sin will be sent to the lake of fire, and we’ll suffer its consequences no more. It is easy too to think of grace in the present, especially when its benefits—salvation by Christ’s work and thankfully not my own—dance colorfully in our minds. But the real wonder of grace, as Paul was writing to Timothy, is that it has always been there.

The grace we know now is the grace that existed before we knew ourselves. God knew us, yes. He foresaw us not only as “humanity,” but as men and women, one by one, each and every. The context of Paul’s writing here is one man to one man: “Join me, Timothy, in suffering for the gospel. And grace will carry us through. Grace that has always been there. Since before we were born. Since before anyone was born.”

When we are wavering, grace is fixed. Past, present (even a most tenuous present), and future.

If we are honest, we must confess that there are many days when we find it hard to “stay in the fight.” Oh, we can speak in our pluckiest language. But in our heart we are asking what it’s all for. To know in those hours that grace is as eternal as God himself is a rock to cling to, a foundation firm and sure. It’s an assurance from the past providing promise for the future that fortifies us for the present.

Jeff Hopper
November 9, 2015
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