Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Lesson in Grace

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.  –Romans 8:1, 2 

I heard a story once about a teacher who many years ago was sent to a rural area to teach in an old fashioned one-room schoolhouse.  The boys he taught were a rough group and were unused to discipline and learning. The boys stated that they didn’t care for rules, so the new teacher gave them a challenge: You decide yourselves what the rules will be and what the consequences are for not following them.  After some deliberation, the boys came up with some basic rules: no homework, fifteen minutes longer for lunch, and anyone caught stealing had to be whipped with a stick across his back.  The teacher decided that in an effort to get this group to learn something he would allow their rules to stand.

A few weeks later it was determined that someone’s lunch had been stolen.  A search of everyone’s desks revealed the guilty party; a scrawny little boy who dressed in rags and seldom had proper food.  “Well,” the teacher said, “You all know the rules; this boy must be whipped.”  A chorus a protest went up from the group.  “No teacher!”  They said, “He took the lunch because he was hungry.  You can’t whip a little boy for taking food because he was hungry, can you?  And besides; look at how scrawny and pitiful he is.”  “I’m sorry,” The teacher replied.  “But you made the rules and the rules have to be enforced.”  At that moment the biggest, roughest boy in the school stepped forward: “Teacher,” He said, “There’s no rule that says someone can’t take this boy’s punishment for him.” The young man then proceeded to pull off his shirt and surrender his own back to take the blows intended for the guilty boy.  The teacher brought out the whipping stick, and after three or four blows stopped.  The teacher then took the stick and broke it across his knee.  It was never needed again, for the group learned that most valuable lesson about love, grace, and compassion.    

The Scripture reminds us that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  We would have been condemned, but Christ stepped forward, at just the right moment, and took the punishment intended for us.  In doing so He set us free from sin and death.  Let us be thankful for the grace shown to us through Christ who died upon the cross in our place.
The troubled soul finds grace and compassion with the Lord.  Do you think that no one loves or cares for you?  Think again; Jesus Christ cares.  So much so that He bore the punishment meant for us.  Thanks be to God for such grace and mercy.

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