And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, then grace would no longer be grace.—Romans 11:6
Have you ever had an altercation, a conflict or misunderstanding with your wife or husband, adult child or a good friend and wondered how in the world you could patch things up? We've all been there, haven't we? Perhaps we are "there" right now.
Let's suppose (and it's a safe supposition, isn't it?) that the mess we are thinking about is a mess that is our fault. We are to blame. After all, at some point in our lives, we have all been in the wrong, haven't we? At some point in our lives we have all been the major factor or cause behind a human relations fiasco that has alienated us from those with whom we have close relationships.
So let's think about one of those times, a time when we knew we were wrong, and as a result, we were estranged from a loved one or close friend. What's the solution? When we have antagonized someone else, when we are directly at fault for a disaster of some nature, the solution, from a strictly human point-of-view, usually comes back to something we can do.
When we're in the middle of a catastrophic separation from those we love, the solution to patching things up, the bottom line for a resolution, always comes down to something that is within our power to do. We think of a peace offering we can give. We might consider flowers, candy, a gesture, a request for forgiveness, an apology, or a promise that we will never act that way again. Perhaps, the something we can do at such a time winds up being a gift offered as a token of our desire to do whatever we can to repair a broken relationship.
This week we're going to discuss Grace Without Reservations—based on Romans 11:6, a passage that provides the springboard for our conversation with God about his amazing grace. The context of our single verse passage in Romans chapter 11 is the dilemma the Apostle Paul felt about his own people, the Jews. What was Paul's dilemma? The dilemma was, and is, for all people of all times and ages, simply this:
There is a gulf between humans and God. How do we bridge the gap, the chasm between ourselves and God? Given the fact of our imperfection, our sin and the fact of God's perfection, his holiness, how can we be reconciled? How can we be forgiven? How can we achieve a right relationship with God?