Tuesday, October 27, 2020

What God's Grace Does to Us

Jesus entered and ate in the house of Zacchaeus, a wealthy tax collector. Zacchaeus was so grateful that Jesus was willing to be seen with and have fellowship with him that he turned away from his former life (only a cheating tax collector could have been as wealthy as Zacchaeus was) and said, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount." (Luke 19:8)

That's what happens when we encounter God's Law and Gospel in Jesus Christ.

The Law convicts us of our sin and the Gospel, the good news of new life for all sinners who turn from sin (repent) and believe or trust in Jesus, convinces us to believe that Christ alone can cover our sin, change our lives, make us acceptable to God, and grant us a place in His eternal Kingdom.

Shortly after Jesus ate with Zacchaeus, Jesus took up a cross and, although He never sinned, died on it, offering Himself as the perfect sacrifice for our sin. Jesus took the condemnation of death and the separation from God that all we Zacchaeuses deserve.


So that when the Father raised Jesus, God the Son, from the dead, He could pave a way for us to, like Zacchaeus, turn from sin and believe in Christ, gaining a share in His eternity. All who believe in Jesus will one day, be raised with Him.

But faith in Jesus gives us more than a share in eternity, it also changes our present.

When God's charity came to Zacchaeus, God set the tax collector to live differently. God gave him a heart for the poor and the will to make things right with those he cheated.

Notice that Zacchaeus didn't think he needed to do these things to be saved from sin and death. He did them after Jesus embraced him in grace and forgiveness.

We can't earn the love of God that comes to us in the crucified and risen Jesus. But when it does come to us and we are stirred to faith, acts of love, restoration, and justice will surely follow.

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