Have You Been Reading the OT Through a Thick Lens?

…the book of Exodus is filed with sinners and outcasts who become conduits of grace when God liberates His people from Egypt.  If you haven’t noticed this, you may have been reading the Old Testament through a thick lens – looking for heroes and saints to emulate instead of a gracious God to thank.

– Sprinkle, Preston; Charis: God’s Scandalous Grace for Us; David C. Cook Publishing; Colorado Springs, CO; Kindle version; copyright 2014; page 65

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Nothing Can Prevent God from Using You

God hand selects Perez – the illegitimate son from an illicit affair between a father-in-law and daughter-in-law dressed up as a harlot – to be a part of His plan to redeem the world.

God deliberately gets His hands dirty by molding Judah’s mess into a conduit of grace, because God is in the business of working through our messes.  Grace does not mean that God encourages sin or discourages righteousness.  Not at all (Romans 6:1-2).  Nor does it mean that God saves people apart from faith in Christ.  But it does mean that no mess, no failure, no broken marriage, no affair, no night with a prostitute can prevent God from using you – an image bearing masterpiece, frail and flawed, forever loved.

– Sprinkle, Preston; Charis: God’s Scandalous Grace for Us; David C. Cook Publishing; Colorado Springs, CO; Kindle version; copyright 2014; page 62

God Is Not Like You and Me

God is not like you and me.  God is transcendent.  And His love is fundamentally different from ours.  Even though our love is fueled by conditions – I’ll love you as long as you make me laugh and don’t gain weight – God’s love flows from his transcendent and intimate character.  He love you because of who He is and because of what He has done, not because of what you do or don’t do.

God loves Abraham because of God. God loves you because of God.  Just like Abraham slept through the covenant ceremony, you were not present at Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection.  The grace that is launched in Genesis 15 ultimately touches down on Calvary.

– Sprinkle, Preston; Charis: God’s Scandalous Grace for Us; David C. Cook Publishing; Colorado Springs, CO; Kindle version; copyright 2014; page 58

Why Did Paul Use the Example of Abraham to Exhibit Grace?

It’s no wonder that the apostle Paul, when reaching for an Old Testament example of grace, went straight for Abraham.  After writing three chapters about God’s unconditional love through Jesus (Romans 1:18-3:30), Paul summed up his argument in one short phrase: “[God] justifies the ungodly” (Romans 4:5).  How do we know this?  Just look at Abraham (Romans 4:3-5)

– Sprinkle, Preston; Charis: God’s Scandalous Grace for Us; David C. Cook Publishing; Colorado Springs, CO; Kindle version; copyright 2014; page 54

If Left to Him, We Would All Be in Hell

But Abraham’s life is also littered with doubt, fear, unfaithfulness, and lying.  For instance, immediately after God promises to give him the land of Canaan and make him a mighty nation (Genesis 12:1-3), Abraham flees to the land of Egypt and nearly loses his wife by lying to another man, telling him she is his sister (Genesis 12:10-20).  If God’s promises rested upon Abraham’s behavior, then we would all be in hell.

– Sprinkle, Preston; Charis: God’s Scandalous Grace for Us; David C. Cook Publishing; Colorado Springs, CO; Kindle version; copyright 2014; page 53

This Promise Forms the Backbone of the Entire Bible

Then, before Abraham has the chance to do anything good, God promises to give him the land of Canaan, make him a mighty nation, and bless people of other nations through him (Genesis 12:1-3).  This promise is an unconditional promise; there’s nothing Abraham does to earn it, no conditions he needs to fulfill in order to ensure its fulfillment.  And this promise forms the backbone for the entire Bible.

– Sprinkle, Preston; Charis: God’s Scandalous Grace for Us; David C. Cook Publishing; Colorado Springs, CO; Kindle version; copyright 2014; page 52