But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: Romans 5:20
When I think of sin, the most horrific national sins that comes to mind are the crucifixion of God’s precious Son, the enslaving of men and women, and the Holocaust. Still today the consequences of the sin of slavery are being felt by our own nation. We would not be such a divided nation had slavery not been legal or practiced in the first decades of our history. I suspect that the nation of Germany still suffers from the effects of the national sin of the Holocaust.
Why did a loving God allow these atrocities?
God gave us free will to choose, but also with the wrong choices He knew and knows we will make, He stands with nail scarred hands offering grace and redemption.
Had there been no cross and crucifixion of Christ, there would be no path to redemption for a lost and dying world.
Would we truly understand grace without seeing it in action in the lives of people?
Even as we suffer from the wounds and scars left by slavery and the Holocaust, we also are blessed with the grace that God is showing us and offering us. What better way to learn about God’s grace than to look at the lives of John Newton and Corrie Ten Boom?
Out of the filth and degradation of dealing in slave trade, God raised up a man named John Newton and showed him grace. From his life we have the great hymn: Amazing Grace. We also have these words on his gravestone:
“John Newton, Clerk, once an infidel and libertine, a servant of slaves in Africa, was, by the rich mercy of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, preserved, restored, pardoned, and appointed to preach the faith he had long labored to destroy.”
Corrie Ten Boom lost most of her loving family during Word War II and suffered more misery than most of us can even understand while imprisoned for aiding Jews. In the book, Corrie Ten Boom – Heroine of Haarlem the account is given of the night she was confronted with forgiving a guard from Ravensbruck. Here is the account:
But working against the flow was a man coming toward Corrie. He looked familiar.
No! she wanted to scream.
The man stopped in front of her, smiling. “What a fine message, Frau ten Boom. I’m so glad to hear our sins are forgiven.” This very man was at Ravensbruck! He was one of the guards who watched coldly as Corrie and Betsie filed past, naked and degraded. She remembered him distinctly. Corrie could not speak. She pretended to be preoccupied. Would he never go away? The man went on confidently, “You mentioned you were at Ravensbruck. You won’t believe this but I was a guard at Ravensbruck. However after the war I became a Christian. God forgave me. Will you forgive me?” He extended his weathered hairy hand. It was as repulsive as a snake.
…Corrie had to forgive him. Or God would not forgive her. It was clear in the Bible. She looked at the man’s repulsive hand. Forgiveness was not an emotion one indulged. It was the will of God.
She extended her hand. “I forgive you.”
Warmth flooded over her. It was intense.
Grace – The unmerited gift of forgiveness that God offers each of us. To learn more about grace go to What is Grace:
God’s grace is his unmerited, undeserved, and unearned favor on those that have sinned. The Greek word for Grace is “charis” and is used about 150 times in the New Testament of the Bible. The word refers to favor that God gives freely without expecting something in return.
- ‘But there were damaged hearts in Haarlem…’ (jlue.wordpress.com)
- Corrie Ten Boom Quote Friday (walklikeenoch.com)
- Forgiveness (probings.wordpress.com)
- Hope in Resurrection (4) (allisonquient.wordpress.com)
- The Secret of Rejoicing While Suffering (str.typepad.com)
- The Hiding Place (graftedinelena.wordpress.com)