Friday, September 25, 2015

"No Greater Grace"

     "And Joshua, the son of Nun, sent out of Shiitim two men to spy secretly, saying, Go, view the land, even Jericho, and they went, came into a harlot's house, named Rahab, and lodged there" (Joshua 2:1).
      "By faith, the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace" (Hebrews 11:31).

     Delicately stated, the Rahab who usually received men for sinful reasons received the men of Israel unto her salvation.  In the most sublime display of grace, the Lord met her within the context of her very lostness and led Rahab out of her own personal wilderness of sin into the promise of redemption received by faith.  Indeed, God's mercy so enveloped Rahab that Scripture includes her in the genealogical line of the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:5).

    It would have been better for Rahab had she never practiced prostitution.  God does not determine sin, even to the degree that He will not tempt human beings to disbelieve and disobey Him (James 1:13).  In the marvel of His loving wisdom, however, He does take advantage of the inevitable consequences experienced when sin pays its deadly wages.  "To be carnally minded is death… sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death" (Romans 8:6; James 1:15).  We do well to remember that God exempts no one from this inexorable reaping of evil sowing.  "The wrath of God is revealed from Heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men" (Romans 1:18).  The literal verb tense of the original Greek in this passage can be rendered, "is presently being revealed."  Thus, no one gets away with anything in God's creation.  The deadly wages begin to be paid in the moment sin begins, whether the practitioner knows it or not.  More importantly,  as in the case of Rahab, God's grace begins to use the miseries of sin as a preparatory illumination to inform us of our lostness.  Again, the Lord met the woman within the context of a misspent existence, even as her progeny and Savior would one day walk the paths of a fallen world to meets sinners where they were.  "How is it that He eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners?!" (Mark 2:16).

    A lesser grace would have found a seemingly more righteous woman to receive the men of Israel.  It would have avoided Rahab with the dismissal, "No, woman, your reception of men for sinful purposes disqualifies you for the redemptive reception presently required!  First clean up your life, and then perhaps God will mercifully grant to you another opportunity!"  In the marvel of His mercy and preparatory working in Rahab's life, however, the Lord saw her as a candidate for grace and for the working out of His purposes within the very context of her lostness.  Such purposes first involved the protection of Joshua's spies.  Far more gloriously, Rahab would receive God's mercy and then occupy a place in the human lineage of the Lord Jesus.  No greater grace can be imagined, although you and I would confess that its equal occurred in our lives when the Lord so graciously met and redeemed us in our own wilderness of sin.

"Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound, that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord."
(Romans 5:20-21)

Weekly Memory Verse
    Ye are not in the flesh but in the spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.
(Romans 8:9)

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