In the Beginning There Was Grace (Part 2)

Continuing on from Part 1, today I’m adding onto the list of all the ways God demonstrated His grace and mercy throughout the book of Genesis.

In Part 1, I looked at the ways God freely gave his unmerited favour and compassion through the creation of the world and the fall of man into sin, in chapters 1-3 of Genesis.

In Part 2, I will look at how He continues this pattern of grace and mercy to a wholly undeserving people, even as sin spreads through the world, in chapters 4-9 of Genesis.

 


  • Eve conceives and has a baby. Although her sin against God deserves a punishment of death (which will eventually come), God, in His grace, gives her the gift of life. Genesis 4:1-2
  • Cain is angry that God does not accept his offering, and yet God still reaches out and gives him the option to do the right thing. He warns Cain of the dangerous sin trap awaiting him. Genesis 4:7
  • After Cain worries about being killed by whoever finds him as a “restless wanderer”, God gives him divine protection, by marking him and cursing anyone who would kill Cain. Cain does not deserve this protection, but God gives it anyway to reveal his own merciful character. Genesis 4:15
  • Adam and Eve have another son, named Seth – Eve recognises this as the gracious gift of God, since she lost her son Abel. Genesis 4:25
  • When sin had spread through the people on earth so much that “every inclination of the thoughts of [their hearts were] only evil all the time”, God wanted to completely wipe out humanity. But in His great mercy, he decided to spare Noah and His family. The Bible says that Noah found favour in God’s eyes. That he was “a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time and he walked with God,” but this does not mean that Noah was sinless. We learn later on that wiping out most of humanity didn’t deal with the problem of sin in every human’s heart (Genesis 8:21). The grace of God is revealed here in His decision to not completely wipe out humanity, but to carry on His original plan to fill the earth through Noah and His family, despite the great pain and cost to Himself that would come later (that is, the pain caused by all of humanity’s sin and the pain of losing His only son). Genesis 6:6-8
  • God makes a covenant with Noah – he reaches out to save Noah and family, when this truly would have been impossible on their own. He tells Noah exactly what to do to be saved from the flood. Genesis 6:18
  • God remembers Noah and acts to end the flood. Think about it – what would have happened if God had not remembered Noah? If he had left him there on the ark, in a world of water? The stopping of the rain and receding of the flood waters is another act of God’s grace and mercy to Noah. Genesis 8:1
  • After the flood, God promises never again to curse the ground or destroy all living creatures because of mankind. This reveals God’s future grace – he knows that more sin is still there in the hearts of every person (“… even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood…”), but he promises to show grace. Genesis 8:21-22

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In the Beginning There Was Grace (Part 1)

Some people talk about God as though he is two different “characters” in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. For example, “the vengeful and harsh God of the Old Testament” versus “the loving and forgiving God of the New Testament.”

But the Bible tells us that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

As I’ve been reading and studying through the book of Genesis recently, one thing that consistently strikes me is God’s incredible grace and mercy!

So I’ve decided to create a list here of all the examples of God’s grace and mercy I’ve encountered in Genesis (so far). I hope this list will be an encouragement to you as you get to (or start to) know God’s character more.

Here are the definitions of each that I use, as I know these words can have different  connotations.

Grace: unmerited/undeserved favour

Mercy: divine favour or compassion

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Bible Study Barbie starter kit 😛


  • God makes man and woman in His image and likeness. Being made in God’s image is an amazing blessing and honour, and there is nothing they (or we) did to deserve or earn that – they didn’t even exist yet when God made that decision! Genesis 1:26-27
  • God blesses the man and woman and gives them a purpose – have babies, fill the earth and rule over it. Giving Adam and Eve a specific purpose and direction in life was a gift to them. They didn’t have to wonder about their reason for being – God told them clearly. Genesis 1:28
  • God provides food for the people He made – it literally grows on trees, they don’t have to do anything! Genesis 1:29
  • This food is “pleasing to the eye” and nutritious. Genesis 2:9
  • God gives Adam a rule about one tree he may not eat from – this is for Adam’s protection (the alternative would be not telling Adam that eating from this tree would cause him to die – giving him no warning at all.) Genesis 2:17
  • God sees that it is not good for the man to be alone, so he makes a helper who is suitable for him. This is not something Adam earned or deserved because he was such a great guy – this was purely God’s gracious gift to Adam, in meeting a need that God saw he had. Genesis 2:18
  • When God goes to take one of Adam’s ribs, with which he forms Eve, he first causes Adam to “fall into a deep sleep” – this is an act of mercy to spare Adam of the pain it would have caused. Genesis 2:21
  • When Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, although death would indeed be the consequence, God showed them grace and mercy in allowing them not to die immediately, but to continue on in their mission to “be fruitful and multiply”. Genesis 3:6
  • Even though Adam and Eve have just sinned against God for the first time – rebelling against his good authority and rule – He pursues them; He calls to them. He is the offended party, and yet God is the one to reach out and seek the offenders. Such love and grace! Genesis 3:9
  • Even as God is dishing out the consequences to all the guilty parties, there is still amazing grace given to them. The woman will have pain in childbearing, but she will still go on to bear children! (Genesis 3:16) The man will have endure painful toil in order to eat, but he will still yield food! (Genesis 3:17-19)
  • God makes garments from animal skins for Adam and Eve, more permanent and warm than the leaves they had quickly gathered to cover themselves. Genesis 3:21

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This is part 1 in a series I hope to continue soon, with all the examples of God’s grace and mercy throughout the book of Genesis.
It’s my hope that this inspires you to open your Bible and get to know and love God more each day.

Friends, He is so good!

 

Like a Child

Today we were driving to the shops, and my daughter said, “Oh no! Someone left their Old McDonald’s wrapper ON THE GROUND!”

“That’s not good, is it, honey? People should pick up their rubbish,” I said.

“I know!” she said immediately. “We could have a garbage hunt!”

And so – when the weather improves – we plan on having a garbage hunt. Walking around our neighbourhood with a garbage bag, picking up all the rubbish we find.

I don’t know if this is something they’ve done at school before, but I’m fairly certain her teacher has talked to her class about the environmental impacts of leaving your rubbish lying around. She has come home from school before talking to me about how rubbish that washes into the water ways can cause fish to choke and die.

And just the other day we were walking back to the car and she stopped to pick up someone’s empty juice popper “so we can put it in the bin at home”.

For her, it is so simple… Rubbish pollutes the world, so we should pick up rubbish and put it in the bin.

Belief = action.

We call this integrity, when a persons actions match their beliefs.

But I don’t think it’s so simple for adults.

We know that littering is bad for the environment, yet most of us would quite happily walk past someone else’s rubbish because we don’t want to touch it or be seen touching it or it’s not our fault.

Our actions don’t match our beliefs.


 

The other day, while I was having an internal ultrasound, I had the opportunity to explain the gospel to a stranger – the ultrasound technician (now, don’t tell me you find it uncomfortable to talk about your faith…).

He asked what the difference between Catholics and Protestants was, and I proceeded to explain that the main difference is that Protestants believe that the only way to be saved is by having faith in God, not your own good works.

This is the good news of the gospel – that salvation is a gift, from start to finish, and there is nothing we can do to contribute to that.

It’s very good news, but it does cause problems with our human nature.

Because some of us hear that and think, Great! I will just trust in Jesus and then get on with my life, doing whatever I please, because I am saved anyway!

This is why James needed to write in the Bible:

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

Yes, faith in God is all we need to be saved. James is not arguing that our good deeds somehow contribute to our salvation, like an add-on to faith. Rather, he is saying that deeds are the evidence of faith.
We can’t say that we have real faith – a living faith – if we don’t act on it.

 

If we say we believe that Jesus is the Lord and the only way to God, but we don’t worship him, our faith is dead.

If we say we believe that only those who trust in Jesus will go to heaven and everyone else will go to hell, but we don’t tell people about Him, our faith is dead.

If we say we believe that living life God’s way is best, but we don’t obey him, our faith is dead.

Faith without action is nothing.

In fact, it’s worse than nothing – it’s hypocrisy.

 

Maybe we have something to learn from children here.

They have no gap between their beliefs and their actions.

Let’s have a real, live faith.

A child-like faith.

A faith that cannot help but act.

 

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Thank You, Lord, That I am Not Like This Paedophile

Every time a news story breaks about a new case of child sexual abuse or a child porn user, a slew of people rush to the comments section to declare their thoughts about the criminal.

“Scum of the earth…”

“Bring back the death penalty…”

“Let him stay with the general population in prison, see how he likes that…”

In one sense, I can relate. Nothing sickens me more than the thought of people hurting and abusing children, especially since I’ve had kids of my own. At times, I’ve read details of these horrific cases and felt a burst of rage, and contemplated what justice might look like for that person.

 

Justice.

We all want justice, don’t we?

We all want to see these vile offenders pay for the wrong they have done and the harm they have caused.

So we put ourselves firmly in the seat of Judge, and we mete out what we would consider Justice. I have to laugh at the incongruity here, given one of the maxims of our day is “don’t judge”…

“Don’t judge” – unless the person you’re judging is a paedophile.

“Don’t judge” – unless it’s someone who is clearly way worse than you.

“Don’t judge” – unless it’s publicly acceptable to do so.

 

Do you think you’re better than a paedophile?

That’s not a trick question.

Are you a better person than a paedophile?

 

Have a read of what Jesus has to say in Luke 18:9-14:

He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Don’t trust in yourself that you are righteous. Fall on your knees before God.

Ask for His mercy.

Because He can see inside your heart, and He knows you aren’t righteous.

He saw every time you lied. Every time you kindled the fire of hatred against another human being. Every time you lashed out in anger, whether with words or with hands. Every time you ignored Him. Every time you put someone else before Him. Every time you satisfied your lust. Every time you put desire for things above love for people. Every time you clamoured to get more than you need. Every time you deliberately deceived someone.

There is no one righteous, not even one.

Step out of the Judge’s seat, and onto the floor with the sinners.

I promise there is enough mercy to go around.

 

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Bro, Do You Even Read…

… the Bible?

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Let me just say, I get great encouragement from worship music and mini sermons that keep me focussed on God throughout the day. Which is why I still listen to the Christian radio station.

But it is also the source of one of my biggest pet peeves – Christian music with poor doctrine (or perhaps just poorly thought-out lyrics).

I’ve posted about this before: Happiness is Not a Virtue

So, in the next instalment of “songs that get on my nerves” we have…

 

Steven Curtis Chapman – Live Out Loud

Wake the neighbours, get the word out
Come on, crank up the music, climb a mountain and shout
This is life we’ve been given, made to be lived out
So la la la la, live out loud
Live out loud, yeah

If anyone loudly blesses their neighbour early in the morning, it will be taken as a curse.
Proverbs 27:14

Kerrie Roberts – What Are You Afraid Of

So what are you afraid of
Show ’em what you’re made of
The shadows that you’re scared of
Are usually your own
They’re not the great unknown
You don’t have to wonder
You’re not going under
Grace has got you covered
God is in control
Go on and let it go
What are you afraid of

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?
Romans 6:1-2
As an aside: I know, I know, these songs might not mean what I think they mean. Take this post in a light-hearted tone 🙂 I just can’t enjoy a Christian song if it has lyrics that grate on me like these ones.

 

If you’re a crafty person, you might want to head over to my other blog, Make it in the Margins because I have finally put up a couple of new posts.

Including this dotty apron which I started while I was pregnant:

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Feels good to get out the old sewing machine again and finish a project!