“But for the grace of God”

March 4, 2020

Scripture Readings

Today’s passages from Leviticus on dietary laws are a testament to God’s holiness. They also lay the groundwork for his call for us to walk in holiness and to “...distinguish between the clean and the unclean.” 


In Mark 12, we see the folly of trying to deceive or trick God. Granted, Jesus’ inquisitors didn’t believe he was the Messiah, much less God, but Jesus’ answers left them “amazed.” As followers of the risen Christ, we should be even more amazed at the One who is worthy to be praised. 

David’s 30th Psalm speaks to both these immutable truths. 


As I reflect on the last 70 years of my life, there have been many occasions that, ‘but for the grace of God,’ my life would certainly have come to a sudden end. As a policeman and pilot for several decades throughout the farthest reaches of Canada, I’ve had my share of close calls. I also know many who, confronted by similar circumstances, were not as fortunate. I can thus identify with David’s exaltation to his Lord who, “...brought (him) from the realm of the dead” and “spared (him) from going down to the pit.” 


Our Lord’s protection isn’t limited to matters of imminent life and death, however. You don’t have to be a warrior like David battling sworn enemies or on the front lines of policing, or battling the elements as a bush pilot to know and feel God’s favour and deliverance. More often, it is in the trenches of spiritual warfare, when the enemy exploits our feelings and emotions, that God’s gentle nudge and unfailing love rescues us from our harmful choices. 


But we, like the Psalmist, need to remember when God seems distant, or even angry, it is NOT because he is a petulant and capricious God. The height of folly would be to withhold our exaltation or to make our praise to God conditional on fulfilling our expectations. 


Rather, his holiness and justice require God to turn his face from us when we sin. We have all the more cause to turn back to him and receive the richness of his unfailing mercy. 


As we are eager to make short accounts to the One by whom our very existence depends, we can join with the Psalmist in proclaiming, “God’s anger lasts only a moment, but his favour lasts a lifetime.” 

Gerry Anderson

Alpha volunteer, Life Group Leader, a grateful sinner redeemed by mercy