Grace Came Down (Part 1)
The word advent means ‘arrival’. We live life between advents.
The church celebrates that Christ came to redeem us in grace in His first advent and anticipates that He will restore all things by grace in His second.
This past Sunday I read from Genesis 6, which might seem like an odd text to use to launch the church into the first of four Sundays leading up to Christmas. The passage takes place before the great flood when the human race led was spiralling into a free-fall of darkness.
The passage makes it clear that even though the worship of God no longer ruled the human heart – the human heart never stopped worshipping. We are hardwired to be lovers and worshippers. Everyone sat on the throne of their own hearts, and as a result, the world was a dark place.
If it weren’t for God’s grace, our hearts would have continued on a trajectory of worshipping insufficient little gods, hoping they would bring rest to our restless hearts.
Why start the advent season with a text that talks about the sin of humanity? While we prefer how the word ‘grace’ strikes our ears more than the word ‘sin’, preaching about God’s grace and omitting the sin that warrants it carries the same force as reading from a phone book.
The advent season can’t be celebrated without considering our sin because Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. (1 Tim 2:5)
To be clear, talking about our sin is not telling the church that they are miserable worms who must pay penance on Sundays by wallowing in their inability to keep His perfect law.
There is no condemnation in being honest about our sin and our inability to keep God’s law because Christ has kept God’s law. The babe in the manger was God Himself, coming to meet the demands of His law – for us. Now, from the freedom of this amazing grace, we live to the glory of the One who saved us in grace.
At advent, we consider that Christ was the only king in history who came to establish His kingdom by dying.
The reason advent is worth getting excited about is the same reason that hearing about God’s grace every Sunday is worth getting excited about:
We don’t meet God half way. We can’t meet God half way. God’s grace came all the way.
During advent we increasingly focus our gaze on the time when God wrote Himself into human history. God’s wrapped His gift of grace in a manger and He unwrapped it an empty tomb.