Grace Notes

"The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9)

Grace period

The classic story is that of the thief on the cross. "Lord, remember me when thou comest into Thy kingdom." (Luke 23:42) He believes in Him even as he's bleeding out. The "malefactor" on the opposite side had just demanded that Jesus prove His Godhood by saving "save thyself and us" (23:39). The soldiers who put Jesus up had, just one verse before, done the same. "Save thyself". The repentant thief doesn't demand anything but a passing thought from Jesus. Presumably as Jesus enters Heaven triumphant. I can't say this is what the thief thought as he confessed his sin before (beside) the Lord, but that is indeed what he got to experience, and more. In person. When we come to God, realizing that we are here by invitation. That everything we have is a gift in spite of deserving eternal hell and punishment for electing to go our own way. That it's naught but God's grace that sees us through the hardships of life, we are humbled to the point of interaction with Jesus. As savior and friend and companion and Lord.

"And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise." (Luke 23:43)


"Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none. They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink." (Psalm 69:20-21)

Add to such disgraceful treatment the fact that Jesus was stripped naked after being forced to carry his cross through a crowd up to Golgotha and in turn crucified on the same, it would seem Jesus' inward scars were deeper than the outward ones. Paul says "From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus." (Galatians 6:17) Meaning he suffered through similar physical treatment as did Jesus in standing for what He came to deliver. As much as possible, Paul had earned some respite from the petty and worthless interaction of, say, people like the thief to Jesus' left (?) and the soldiers and the crowd. Paul ends his letter to the Galatians with a blessing though. "Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit." (6:18)

In the book of Hebrews, the writer draws a parallel between the sacrifice of Jesus and the ancient sacrifice of animals in the Old Testament.

"For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp. Wherefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach." (Hebrews 13:11-13)

The Christian life can be (at least for a season) one of embarrassment and reproach and disgrace. Standing up for your faith amidst a wholly secular society and being met with the unbelief of the onlookers behind a veneer of forced politeness is something every Christian who truly endeavors to follow Christ--without the camp--will have to experience and endure. Hang in there. The deeper the atmosphere of evil (read: godlessness), the more a sincere, if ignorant, believing Christian is looked upon with derision should they voice their faith. In the backs of the minds and bottoms of the hearts of unbelievers, there's a disagreement. And depending on the state of their heart in humility, God knows whether or not they'll accept you. Jesus says "He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth Him that sent me." (Matthew 10:40) Again, resist the disgrace. God will bring them along as you pray for and forgive them.

"For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory..." (Psalm 84:11a)

Biting Down

The Cloud of Knowing

The Cloud of Knowing