Sin needs Grace no matter how “bad” the sin! Just Because someone sins differently than you, does not mean they do not get to experience the same gift of grace you undeservingly experienced!
My dad is a church planter, so needless to say I grew up in the church. Because of this I saw many different types of people of the church. One of the biggest problems of the church is that individuals become very prideful and it causes all types of problems. The problem that I want to focus on is the one where their pride leads to prejudice thinking. Pride blinds us from seeing truth. Truth tells us that we all need grace because we are all sinners.
We cannot earn Grace; it was a gift given to us.
Grace was shown to us on the Cross when Jesus died for ALL of OUR sins. People often become selfish and forget that the gift of grace was given to all and not just for them. Grace is selfless… He died for you and me. Not only do people become selfish, but also become prejudice to people who sin differently then the way they sin. This selfishness and prejudice thinking is shown through Jonah’s life.
In the story of Jonah, we see that God calls Jonah to go to Nineveh to shine Light. Jonah clearly, heard what God called him to do and deliberately disobeys and runs the complete opposite way. The reason why he ran away from God’s calling is because he hated the people he was instructed to go to. He knew they were living in darkness and evil was prevailing in Nineveh. Thank God that He sometimes chooses to use our disobedience to reveal Himself to others. As the story goes, Jonah’s disobedience put him on a boat heading the opposite way he was instructed. In doing so, God brought a storm which led to him being thrown off the boat and swallowed by a huge fish.
Let me quickly add that God will send a storm or calamity to redirect you to obedience. Because Jonah chose to disobey and get on a boat to Tarshish instead of Nineveh, God revealed himself to sailors on that boat. Now back on topic…
The fish that God sent to swallow Jonah was a gift of grace. Jonah did not deserve to live, yet God chose to save him and redirect him to go back to Nineveh. God was working a bigger plan than Jonah could see that Jonah was worth saving for. God wanted to reveal Himself to the people of Nineveh.
We can’t allow prideful, prejudice thinking to jeopardize the opportunity to shine Light in a dark area! It is not our job to judge the world, that is our Father’s job!
The three days and three nights Jonah spent in the fish allowed time for preparation for the future. While in the fish, Jonah finally got on His knees and talked to God. God told the fish to spit him out and it did… pretty dope if you ask me. We cannot afford to waste time disobeying God. He is working a plan trying to shine Light into a dark world. Paul instructs us in Ephesians 5 that we need to walk as children of the Light. How are we supposed to show the Light if we are not even listening to direction from the One working the plan? Put selfish, prideful prejudice thinking aside and renew your mind to be imitators of God. God is the one working the plan. We just need to listen and obey.
Grace calls for repentance, but be quick… the time for repentance is limited!
Unfortunately, all of us are like our brother Jonah; we disobey…way more than we like to admit. But luckily grace is upon grace and we can repent. We must get on our knees and confess our sins. Our biggest battles are won on our knees. Just like Jonah’s life was turned around by prayer after disobedience, so can ours! Romans 10:9 tells us all about how repentance saves us! But also, in Jonah 3:10 we can see that this grace that saves us is time limited. If the people of Nineveh did not turn from their ways and continued living in darkness after Light was revealed to them, God’s burning anger would have made them perish. But because they did turn away from darkness and begin living in Light, God withdrew His burning anger and gave them Grace.
This should be encouraging to those of you who feel as if you are to broken or too messed up to be fixed. No matter how much you have sinned, God wants you and is willing to give you Grace!
Now to those of you who already knew this… this should challenge you to be better imitators of Christ as Paul instructs us so that God use us to shine into the darkness!
Our Job is to be the paramedic leading people to the hospital where they can find the gracious gift of life!
Our job is so simple, yet we make it so difficult. We just have to lean in on God and depend on his provision and protection. He is faithful and will not forsake us. He is the one working the plan and thankfully not us! God calls us to have a simple job of obeying what God tells us to do and He will do the work for us! We are just paramedics leading people the hospital where God can be found because of his amazing grace!