The Cost of Grace

  1. Message: In Leviticus 24 two men got in a fight and one cursed God. God told Moses to take the man outside the camp and have everyone who heard him curse come out, lay hands on his head and then stone him to death. Then there were instructions about how to punish someone and make restitution if they were to kill an animal, injure someone or kill someone. An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. As I read these words, I felt the overwhelming heaviness of the law and I felt so relieved that we don’t live under that. It also reminded me that we easily forget the cost of our sin because we didn’t pay for it and we weren’t there to see Jesus pay for it. When we sin against people we sin against God and because we know our sin is covered we don’t truly feel the weight of what it cost to make our restitution. We might feel bad about it (if we have any kind of heart) but we usually don’t want anyone else to make us feel bad about it. If we actually had to think about the weight of having to prepare our own restitution or endure a punishment, and then saw Jesus go in our place every time we sinned I think we would be a lot less careless about our sin, and a lot more intentional about our obedience. I hear a lot of Christians who love to talk about grace try to also insert “karma” as part of a belief system and it doesn’t make sense to me. Karma is a Muslim belief system of how to get to heaven because they don’t believe that Jesus paid for sin. They live their lives trying to keep an unknown tally on their “good deeds” vs their “bad deeds” in the hopes that it will all balance out so they can go to heaven. It’s the same “eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth” judgment that the law carried, only it’s the idea that an outside spiritual force will inflict this punishment upon sinners. If we believe that Jesus was the final restitution that paid for all sin, we are not only freed from making our own restitution for sin, but we no longer have the right to carry any kind of expectation that those who offend us should receive punishment either.
  2. Command: Treat our sin as something that costs more than we are able to pay, because it is.
  3. Promise: Grace is the beautiful promise that we are all enjoying because Jesus paid what we couldn’t.
  4. Warning: If we don’t understand the cost of our sin, and internalize the weight that should have been our responsibility, we will treat grace like a cheap gift.
  5. Application: If I’m honest, I struggle through reading Leviticus but today the weight of this really hit me. We don’t have to prepare sacrifices, and endure punishments like this for our sin because Jesus took it for us. We know this academically, but since we have never been required to do these things before in our lives, we don’t understand the actual relief of responsibility that we have and how much our part affects other people. As I was reading about all of the clean and unclean situations where people had to stay quarantined until they were pronounced clean I also felt the weight of what they went through under the law. This wasn’t even for sin issues, it was just for regular life things like coming into contact with a dead person or animal, or having a period. I related this in just a small portion to what a hassle this COVID virus has been. We have to clean everything we touch, wear masks and be conscious of who we are around. I had a coworker who had to miss 2 weeks of work because her temperature was 99 degrees one day. She never got sick but she had to worry about being around other people just in case. People going through this pandemic are stressed out by the worry and the measures we all  have to take to keep not only ourselves, but other people protected. This may be just a tiny bit what it was like to live under the law. What if we had a sudden guarantee that someone had come in and rid the world of this plague? Can you imagine the relief? This is just a tiny example of the relief we experience because Jesus did rid the world of the plague of sin. My challenge to myself is to contemplate everything I do as if I had to live under the law and see how loose I am with applying “grace” in order to delay my obedience and roll around in my sin a little longer.

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