Friday, August 1, 2014

Grace and repentance

July 5, 2014  Grace and repentance 
 "And I will pour out a spirit of compassion (grace) and supplication on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that, when they look on the one whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn."  Zechariah 12:10 

"Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart."  Hebrews 4:12 

This scripture in Zechariah does not offer a neatly packaged symbolism that modern Christians can relate to their own lives, but it does speak of the overarching theme of repentanceGod's spirit of grace through Jesus' death on the cross enables us to see our sin and mourn for what we have done. 
When we repent of sins, it is because of God's grace through the Holy SpiritA good scriptural example of this is the story, in Nehemiah 8:1-12, of Ezra reading the book of the law to the people of IsraelThrough grace, God created a revival in the people of Israel when Ezra read the book of the law.  Nehemiah 8:9 tells us specifically that the people wept when they heard the reading of the lawNow, I  have read some of the Jewish law in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, and I must admit that it never drove me to repentant tearsBut God's grace, through the law, can cause us to understand our sin and repent.
The scripture in Hebrews reminds us how powerful God's word is--even the reading of something as seemingly dry as God's law can become a fountain of grace if we position ourselves to be receptive to God's nudging.