October 21, 2020
I was talking with a man recently who is in his late 70’s. He is a follower of Christ and has served the Lord faithfully and yet, the more I listened to him, the more I sensed that there was a burden on him. Then in a moment of honest reflection he spoke of standing before the Lord with a sense of dread and he said, “I have a lot to give an account for.” Based on our conversation, he was not talking about living in rebellion to God or anything like that. He was speaking of no matter how hard he served the Lord, it would never be good enough. After all, God demands our best. My heart went out to him. He labored under a yoke that was not easy, nor a burden that was light. His good would never be good enough and that, he feared, would bring harsh words and not a joyful welcome.
This morning, I read how Jesus is described in John 1 as “the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John goes on to say in verse 16 (read these words slowly and out loud if you can), “And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.” Don’t miss the obvious. We have all received grace upon grace. That is, from Jesus, we have received grace upon grace upon grace upon grace, because Jesus is full of grace and truth, because he is from the Father, who is full of grace and truth. The grace that Jesus has is an inexhaustible well that not only can never be exhausted, but though he pours out grace upon you, it will not exhaust his supply. In fact, it will not diminish his storehouse of grace one drop.
Do you remember the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30? The stewards who delighted in their master and served him accordingly were welcomed with joy. The master did not chide them for not doing more, as if he could never be satisfied, and their good was never good enough. He was delighted. However, the “worthless servant” was the one who accused the master of being “a hard man.” John Owen said, “Now, there is nothing more grievous to the Lord, nothing that serves the purposes of Satan more than such thoughts as these. Satan rejoices when he can fill your heart with such hard thoughts of God. Satan’s purpose from the beginning was to fill mankind with lies about God... He led our first parents into hard thoughts about God... The Father knows that his people can bring no greater hurt to his loving heart than to have such hard thoughts of him. He knows full well what fruits this bitter root is likely to bear. He knows what alienations of heart, what drawing back, what unbelief this bitter root will bring forth. And worst of all, he knows how it leads us to avoid walking with him.”
Friend, if people have hard thoughts about you, it may be because you have hard thoughts about God and view Him in a way that He really is not.
If I had the chance with this older man, I would have shared these things with him and would have prayed that he would believe that God really is this way to his children. I did tell him that he needed to remember that Jesus was a bigger Savior than he was a sinner, and that Christ was his advocate and stands in his defense. After all, perfect love drives out fear, and we are loved with a perfect love.
If this man needed this reminder, I suspect that some of you do too. From Christ we have received grace upon grace, and he loves to pour it out. Friend, not only believe this, but enjoy this.
Grace and peace,