Last week, we talked about how fearing God begins by believing He is not safe, but He is good. This week, we took a look at God’s perfect balance between justice and grace. God is 100% just. God is also 100% full of grace. It is in this beautiful collision of His justice and grace that we come to know our need for Jesus and experience His saving power. Often we are quick to rush to the application of His grace, glossing over our sin and the punishment it earns for us. However, it is by truly coming to grips with the reality of our sin and its just consequences that we are able to more fully recognize our need for and begin to appreciate God’s grace.
When David was king, God’s law was written on stone tablets, which were kept in a big box called the Ark of the Covenant. In Exodus 25:14-16 and Numbers 4:15, God gives very specific instructions about how His people are to transport these items. He tells them that the Ark is not to be touched by human hands but carried with poles by the Kohathites. 2 Samuel 6:1-9 tells of a time when King David had the Israelites bring the Ark to Jerusalem by putting it on a cart. Amidst the celebration, the oxen pulling the cart stumbled and Uzzah, one of the men guiding the cart, reached up to keep the Ark from falling. God’s perfect justice resulted in the death of Uzzah, as he blatantly disobeyed God’s command not to touch the Ark.
This is a hard truth to come to terms with. Wasn’t Uzzah just trying to be helpful and do a good thing by keeping the Ark from crashing to the ground? Perhaps. But, let’s remember God’s original commands for how the Ark was to be treated and transported. Because of His perfect justice, God could not overlook Uzzah’s mistake, which cost him his life.
The same is true for us. God cannot overlook our sin. Romans 6:23 tells us “the wages of sin is death.” Because we sin, we deserve to die. God would be completely just in destroying us because “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). However, because of God’s grace, He sent Jesus to earth to die for our sins. Jesus absorbed the wrath of God’s perfect justice, taking our punishment for our sins upon Himself. As a result, we are able to receive God’s grace, extended to us through salvation and new life in Christ.
The next time one of your siblings gets in trouble, offer to take the punishment for their disobedience. As you “suffer” in their place, remember that Jesus suffered in your place, as He died on the cross for your sins. Also, just as your sibling didn’t do anything to earn your grace in taking their punishment, neither can you do anything to earn Jesus’s grace. Remember Ephesians 2:8-9!
Reenact the story of bringing the Ark into Jerusalem. Have one person carry a shoebox on their back (no hands) and the other carry a shoebox with poles (use brooms or mops). After you race, discuss which way was obedient to God’s commands and which was disobedient. Who won the race? Which way was harder? Is obedience always easy? Is it still important to obey, even when it’s hard?
Take your whole family outside and play Memory Verse Freeze Tag. Designate one person as “it” and they will chase the other members of the family. If they catch one, that person is “frozen.” The only way the person can “unfreeze” is to recite the memory verse. The last person frozen can be “it” for the next game.
God, we praise You for Your justice and Your grace. We realized that we are all sinners, and that our sin separates us from You. Thank You for sending Jesus to die for our sins. Thank You that it is by Your grace that we are saved. Help us extend grace to others. Amen.
Tell us about a time one of your kiddos extended grace to a sibling or friend. How did your kiddo communicate the grace? How did the recipient respond? How did you feel as this transaction took place?