The following is an excerpt from the book, “The Road to Grace”, by Mike Genung
“And all of you, clothe yourselves in humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:5–‐7)
The more I meditate on this verse, the more I realize the absolute necessity of understanding words as their meanings were intended by the Bible writers. Grace and humble are two such words. I have sung these words in church, memorized them, and even debated them in men’s groups. Just exactly what does it mean to be humble? How do we do that? Is it the antithesis of proud? If we are not obedient, are we deprived of grace? Does this mean that one can yearn for Jesus yet be made anxious and broken because of sexual immorality? How do we see HIM in relation to our brokenness?
1 God always give us His best:
We saw the Lord’s desire to give us His best when He set Adam and Eve down in paradise, and we see it today in His majestic mountains, glowing sunsets, forests of green, roaring seas, and tranquil deserts. He provided us with all the nutrients our bodies need for a long, healthy life from a variety of sources (plants, trees, and wildlife). He gave us powerful minds that can learn, discover, and engineer the things that make like easier, as well as the resources to build them with. He created woman “because it’s not good for man to be alone”; sex for pleasure in marriage, and the joy of children. Music, and those who are blessed with the ability to create it, is another gift of His best. His Word is His best; He spent some 1400 years putting it together so that we who live today could know Him. The list of His best for us is endless. After we sinned and rebelled against Him, God gave us the best of His best – the sacrifice of His son, through which we can have life to the fullest and one day enjoy the everlasting pleasure of being with Him in heaven.
2 His grace outshines our most wretched sin:
King Manasseh reigned over the kingdom of Judah for about 55 years (c. 500 B.C). He re-instituted pagan worship and reversed the religious reforms made by his father Hezekiah, for which he is condemned by several religious texts. The favor shown to Manasseh amazes me! The Lord extended grace to a man who spitefully rebelled against Him in every way possible by worshipping the satan, murdering children and adults, reveling in sexual sin, placing demonic images in the temple – and leading God’s chosen people to do the same. Such grace for someone so evil and depraved is almost too incredible for me to comprehend – which is my point. God’s grace is bigger, wider, and deeper than we can understand—more wonderful than we can hope for.
3 His love cannot be earned or deserved:
You will not find anything Adam and Eve, Cain, Lot, Rahab, Manasseh, Peter or anyone else in Scripture did to earn or deserve God’s grace. None of them tried to earn it, buy it, or deserve it, and neither should we. I think our sexual immorality is a transitory condition.
4 Our sin doesn’t stop God from loving us:
The Lord was kind to
Cain, even as he angrily lied to His face about killing Abel (think about that one). The men of Sodom were committing sexual sin as Abraham asked for the city to be spared. And Jesus looked at Peter, right after he denied the Lord with cursing. How many of us love like that? Is this what grace is?
5 God’s grace does NOT nullify His holiness or remove the consequences of sin:
After they fell and were banished from the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve infected the entire human race with sin; the damage from their decision to disobey God was severe, extensive and irrevocable. Cain “went out from the presence of the Lord,” may not have seen his parents again, and was unable to harvest food from the ground. Rahab and Manasseh would have had to deal with the physical, emotional and mental scarring (not to mention the public stigma) from their life of sin. After denying Christ three times, Peter’s reputation would have been ruined; in spite of how God used him, Peter is often remembered the most by his failure. We reap what we sow (Galatians 6:7); if we thrust our hand in the flames of sin, it will get burned.
6 The Lord patiently meets us where we are, even if we’re in a sexual mud hole:
The Lord approached Adam and Eve while they were hiding in shame, then put up with their attempts to deflect the responsibility from their sin. I wouldn’t have been a patient while they played the blame game, as my own kids might testify. Rahab was still a prostitute when the two spies showed up at her door; if I were God, I might have been tempted to wait before she turned off the red light in her home before freely bestowing my “divine protection” on her. Jesus restored Peter when he must have been withering in shame, fear and doubt – without waiting for an apology or confession of sin. If cleaning up our lives were a requirement to receive God’s grace, we’d all be in serious trouble.
7 God gently restores the broken:
I have always marveled at how kind Jesus was when He restored Peter. The Lord’s love is amazing that someone He loved could deny Him so vehemently any yet He restored Peter without a trace of resentment or bitterness. If I heard my late wife say, “I don’t know Mike” or “I don’t love him” three times to another person (especially another man), I would be insane with hurt and anger. Jesus must have been deeply grieved when Peter denied Him. What amazing love, what compassion He has for those of us who praise Him one moment, then deny Him the next with lust, porn, masturbation, etc. Truly, the Lord’s “kindness leads us to repentance” (Romans 2:4).
8 God SHOWERS His LOVE on the sexually broken:
From the men and women listed in Jesus’ bloodline, doesn’t it seem as though He made a special effort to expose His desire to give grace to the sexually broken?
Throughout Scripture, the Lord showed that prostitutes, adulterers, and sex offenders (which Manasseh would have been), are all welcome to dine at the table of His divine love and favor. Perhaps the Lord included so many stories of the sexually broken because He wants to break through the cloud of shame and rejection they live under with the light of His love.
9 God seeks those who are lost:
The Lord sought Adam and Eve – as they were hiding in shame. He approached Abraham and told him of the coming judgment on Sodom, and later sent two angels to Sodom to extract Lot and his family from the city before it was destroyed. God sought Rahab by revealing the truth of who He is to her, and then guiding the two spies to her home. God pulled Manasseh, a man who “provoked Him to anger more than the heathen nations to Him with hooks and chains, rather than allow him to be killed in battle. And after making breakfast for the Apostles on the beach, Jesus gently restored Peter.
Today I know that the Lord was seeking me even as I was running the other way. If you examine the circumstances of your life, I’ll bet that you’ll find out He’s been after you, too. “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).
10 We have a choice as to how we will see God:
God’s undeserved favor towards man is everywhere; in the splendor of His provision for us, in His kindness towards others who’ve sinned throughout history, and in the gift of His Son on the cross. In spite of this, there are many who, like the third slave, still choose to see the Lord as a “hard man.” God doesn’t force anyone to see Him as He is – we are given the freedom to choose whether we will view Him as a God of grace, or buy into the satan’s lies. Those who harden their hearts against His love are in danger of being recipients of His wrath, because to see Him as a “hard man” is to spitefully reject Him and thus His love for us. By the way, in the parable of the talents we don’t read where the master took his original money or the profits back from the first two slaves. They apparently kept it all, in addition to receiving more blessings. Their master showed no interest in taking in back; He was understandably rich, having initially given his three slaves 448 pounds of gold or silver coins to invest with. He was not after money, but the true state of each man’s heart… to know if they loved Him or not.
What they did with His treasure exposed the truth.
In conclusion, we can be assured that WE CAN ALWAYS APPROACH HIM, NO MATTER WHAT WE’VE DONE OR HOW ASHAMED OR HELPLESS WE FEEL. When Jesus appeared to Peter on the beach, Peter – who was fishing in a boat one hundred yards away, “threw himself into the sea,” and swam for Jesus, where Peter’s life was changed.
The previous excerpt was used with permission from Mike Genung, founder of Blazing Grace. The book “The Road to Grace” can be found in its entirety at BlazingGrace.org