Discovering Spiritual Truths & Celebrating God's Grace in the Every Day Happenings of Life.
As of last Thursday, we have officially been owners of our new house for one whole year. How quickly the time flies! When we signed the closing documents twelve months ago, one of the “perks” of a new-build, was a fairly comprehensive one-year warranty. If any issue arose, all we had to do was fill out an online form and a repair person would (eventually) show up. This was also true for much of the furniture we purchased to fill the new home.
As such, for the last couple of weeks, I have had to wait around for people to come and fix things. Vinyl flooring. Carpet. Refrigerator. Garage door. Furnace. Dining room table. None of these things were major, but they were covered by our expiring warranty, and it would have been foolish for me to not get them serviced for free while I still could. On one hand, it is nice to know that the repair would be covered free of charge—even if it was only a temporary benefit. Yet on the other hand, in each instance, we had to wait… and wait… and wait. We had wait to for calls back and open schedule slots. We had to wait for replacement parts to arrive. Wait for the arrival of the service people. We were helplessly captive to their schedules, entirely dependent on whenever they could fit us in. And when they gave me an option, I had to take it, no matter how inconvenient it was, or risk waiting another three months. For the dining room table alone, I waited over three months for an open timeslot and was then given an unhelpful arrival timeframe of 8am-4pm. Thanks for narrowing it down!
What if we had to wait for grace? What if God left us in limbo until He could fit us in? Read again these familiar words, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) God’s grace is indeed free, but it is also beautifully instantaneous. The moment we repent, that very moment the sins are gone. Truth be told, they are long gone even before we make that confession. Long before they are committed, far before we were penitently aware, the totality of our sins and defects were dealt with and removed. Grace is given even before we ask for it. No waiting around. No overbooked schedule. No unknown timeframe. His mercy and love are better than instantaneous, they are pre-instantaneous. His love is given to us as an immediate and on-going reality. You have been forgiven, are forgiven, and will always be forgiven. This is what that Apostle Paul says: “And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.” (Colossians 2:13-14) Therein lies the irony of grace; it is completely free to us, but it certainly did not come cheap. God willing laid down His life for our sake, for our salvation. The cross. This is where everything changes. This is where every repair is made, where all the damage is undone. This is where God’s lifetime warranty for you and me, His beloved children, is permanently written and sealed in the red blood of our Savior. And unlike my now-expired Ryan Homes warranty, the terms and stipulations of this agreement don’t have an expiration date. At this point, any future house issues or repairs will likely require me to pay the bill. Not so with God. The fine print never changes. We have been cleansed. We have been mended. The service fee has been permanently paid. There will never be a bill, never a debt. We will never see a cost. It is finished.
This Friday, I will again be waiting. This time it will be for the painters to come fix the nail pops and wall cracks of a house that has had a chance to settle for a year. Again, nothing major, but something that will get done for free. But I also know the job they do will probably not be up to my standards. Even with all the painter’s tape in my house right now, they’ll miss a spot or two. (No joke… most of my house looks like it has been infected with blue chicken pox!) At the very least a brand-new nail pop will show up again in a few weeks or new scuff will appear on the freshly touched-up walls. Then it will be up to me to fix the problem. Such worldly things are never perfect. There are always repairs to be made and fixes to be done. Though it will most assuredly bug me, I pray it serves as a subtle reminder of how much better God’s eternal work is. With every earthly inconvenience, let it be a Spirt-led prompting for us to look to the cross. This is where grace originates and is distributed to me, to you, to all. Home repairs will always be there—no matter the age of your house. Perhaps in these moments, we can sit back and thank God that His grace is different. It never needs to be touched up. It never needs to be redone.
“Grace is a free gift of God, but to receive a gift you must have open hands.” (Philip Yancey)
Pastor Steve Vera