Deserve - "to do something or have or show qualities worthy of reward or punishment". So often I think of this word in the negative. We all are aware of our sinful nature, Romans 3:23 says "for we all have sinned and are in need of the glory of God." My sin deserves punishment. The enemy would love for us to wallow in that. However, God loves us so much, He made a new way for us to come to Him through the shed blood of Jesus! Romans 6:23 (TPT), "For sin’s meager wages is death, but God’s lavish gift is life eternal, found in your union with our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One." (emphasis mine)
I have been reading through Leviticus and Hebrews as part of the First 5 Bible Reading app. It's eye-opening to connect the Old Testament regulations of sacrifice; which enabled the Israelites to be in right relationship with God; then read the New Testament; where Jesus is our High Priest and became the only sacrifice that would be necessary, ever again.
I have believed for years that God's grace was "unmerited or undeserved favor". God freely gives His grace to anyone who chooses to put their faith in Him. However, Graham Cooke has recently challenged that view for me.
"When Mary and Joseph had completed everything required of them by the Law of the Lord, they took Jesus and returned to their home in Nazareth in Galilee. The child (Jesus) grew more powerful in grace, for He was being filled with wisdom, and the favor of God was upon him." Luke 2:39-40. (NET)
If Jesus had the grace of God, how can it be undeserved favor? Wouldn't that mean that Jesus wasn't perfect and had done something wrong for which He needed God's grace? That would also negate His death and resurrection as being the only way we can be in right relationship with God.
Graham Cooke describes grace on his blog as a letter from God, "Grace as undeserved favor is the smallest, weakest, least effective expression of Our nature in you. If grace is undeserved favor then either Jesus never had any or if He did, then He must have done something wrong to be given that type of grace, which would disqualify Him from being your savior! Grace is My empowering presence within you that enables you to become the person that I see when I look at you."(emphasis mine)
That is so powerful and beautiful! I deserved death on my own merit, but because of Jesus' sacrifice, I have His "empowering presence" in me! God sees me as a new creation and as the overflow of my love relationship with Him, I want to serve Him and show others His love and power! God truly deserves ALL the praise!
"Sing praises about the majesty of his reputation. Give him the honor He deserves!" Psalm 66:2 (NET)
This post was prompted by Kate Motaung's "Five Minute Friday," which she hosts on the Five Minute Friday website. Kate posts a single word each week and each blogger sets a timer for 5 minutes to write and then posts, with little editing. (Some weeks I have more trouble with that part than others.) Check out the other writers on this topic!