Background picture is of largest cross in the Western hemisphere located between Amarillo TX and Oklahoma City OK on I 40 in TX close to the OK border. Picture taken by Fran Meservy 2000
Amazing Grace by Stephanie April Meservy-Roberts Sept 2009
GRACE FOR GRACE by: Frances M. McCrory-Meservy Jan 2002
Sheila and I were studying John 1 when Sheila asked, "What does grace for grace mean?" I told her I didnít know.
Immediately Jesus gave me a picture of people who have a controlling parent. He showed me that itís a type of bondage and they never were taught how to make decisions. They are just taught to obey. They have never experienced freedom and therefore do not know how to handle freedom. It keeps them from understanding grace.
I have known several people who are like this. They hate choices because they are afraid of making the wrong choice. It takes years to disciple them on how to make decisions, how to walk in the Spirit and that under grace it is ok to make a mistake. Until they understand that it is ok to make a mistake and that God will not disown them if they make a wrong decision, they can not walk in Godís grace.
I find myself constantly reassuring these folks that I do not hate them because they made a mistake. I get other people involved in this process so they will get the constant assurance and forgiveness from all sides. Eventually they understand that we will love them no matter what. Thatís what Godís love is like.
Then, He gave me a picture of the Israelites coming out of Egypt. With this picture, came a flood of understanding and scripture.
Grace means unearned favor. In other words, we did nothing to deserve Godís favor; but he loves and cares for us anyway. He does not give up on us. He continually tries to draw us to Himself and teach us.
Our children make mistakes and mess up their lives; but we love them anyway. We try to teach and lead them in the right direction. We donít disown our children even though they hurt us and donít listen to us. We extend grace to them by keeping them as our children and loving them.
Jesus was life, and the life was the light of men.
Many people today believe that people could not be saved by grace until after Jesus died on the cross. Grace for grace means grace piled upon grace. There must have been grace already in order to pile more grace upon it. More grace was given when Jesus died upon the cross. Therefore, grace upon (for) grace.
Following along with the grace miss-belief comes the miss-belief that God did not put His Spirit in anyone until after Jesus died on the cross.
We know a man canít be saved unless Godís Spirit is in him so that God can guide, teach and give him the inner strength to do Godís will. The law wasnít given for several thousand years after God created man. Grace and the in-filling spirit were how people had a personal relationship with God back then as well as now.
From the beginning, Godís grace and Spirit were available to mankind. From the beginning, God knew He was going to die for our sins and men looked forward to the cross. Grace was there for the taking. Godís Spirit was there for the accepting into a man.
Then Jesus (God in mankind form) came and died on the cross. Now we look back to the cross. We can accept Godís grace and we can receive His Spirit into ourselves.
So, you see, there are Old Testament Christians and New Testament Christians. God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He does not change.
Why could the Israelites not understand Grace? Why did they feel the need for Law instead of freedom?
The Israelites were born in bondage in Egypt. They had never experienced unearned favor (Grace). They were not allowed to make decisions for themselves. They were expected to simple obey their master. Since they were never taught how to make decisions, they could not handle doing it after God freed them from Pharaoh. They could not fathom Freedom and itís responsibilities.
So, here they are in the desert and God wants them to come to the base of a mountain and develop a personal relationship with Him. A personal relationship meant making decisions and doing things independently. Meaning being dependant on God to guide them but not dependant on earthly influences including other men.
They were afraid they would say or do the wrong thing and God would kill them. Their response was to ask Moses to talk to God and tell them what to do and they would do it. In other words, they asked Moses to take the place of pharaoh.
God understood why they needed the Law. God knew they could not keep it; but He allowed them their free will. He also designed the law to point to Jesus and the Grace that would be poured out on the Grace that man already had available to him.
A few of them accepted grace and the Holy Spirit into themselves and had a personal relationship with God.
God is so gracious that He meets us where we are and accepts us as we are while at the same time He gives us what we need to help us grow and move into His perfect will. And then he adds more Grace because he loves us. Some people need the law (rules and regulations) before they can accept grace. But, when they are born again (born of the Spirit), they are no longer old wineskins. They are made new by the renewing of their minds and can accept grace.
John 1:16-17 And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
Gen 6:8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.
Exo 33:12-17 Then Moses said to the LORD, "See, You say to me, 'Bring up this people.' But You have not let me know whom You will send with me. Yet You have said, 'I know you by name, and you have also found grace in My sight.' "Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You and that I may find grace in Your sight. And consider that this nation is Your people." And He said, "My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest." Then he said to Him, "If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here. "For how then will it be known that Your people and I have found grace in Your sight, except You go with us? So we shall be separate, Your people and I, from all the people who are upon the face of the earth." So the LORD said to Moses, "I will also do this thing that you have spoken; for you have found grace in My sight, and I know you by name.
Jer 31:2 Thus says the LORD: "The people who survived the sword Found grace in the wilderness; Israel, when I went to give him rest."
Zec 12:10 "And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.
Gen 41:38-39 And Pharaoh said to his servants, "Can we find such a one as this, a man in whom is the Spirit of God?" Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, "Inasmuch as God has shown you all this, there is no one as discerning and wise as you.
Neh 9:30 Yet for many years You had patience with them, And testified against them by Your Spirit in Your prophets. Yet they would not listen; Therefore You gave them into the hand of the peoples of the lands.
Ezek 37:12-14 "Therefore prophesy and say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. "Then you shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves. "I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I, the LORD, have spoken it and performed it," says the LORD.'"
John 20:21-23 So Jesus said to them again, "Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you." And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. "If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.
Heb 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
Exo 6:9-11 So Moses spoke thus to the children of Israel; but they did not heed Moses, because of anguish of spirit and cruel bondage. And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, "Go in, tell Pharaoh king of Egypt to let the children of Israel go out of his land."
Exo 19:14-17 So Moses went down from the mountain to the people and sanctified the people, and they washed their clothes. And he said to the people, "Be ready for the third day; do not come near your wives." Then it came to pass on the third day, in the morning, that there were thunderings and lightnings, and a thick cloud on the mountain; and the sound of the trumpet was very loud, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain.
Exo 20:18-21 Now all the people witnessed the thunderings, the lightning flashes, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood afar off. Then they said to Moses, "You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die." And Moses said to the people, "Do not fear; for God has come to test you, and that His fear may be before you, so that you may not sin." So the people stood afar off, but Moses drew near the thick darkness where God was.
Exo 28:3 "So you shall speak to all who are gifted artisans, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron's garments, to consecrate him, that he may minister to Me as priest.
Exo 31:3-5 "And I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, "to design artistic works, to work in gold, in silver, in bronze, "in cutting jewels for setting, in carving wood, and to work in all manner of workmanship.
Num 14:24 "But My servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit in him and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land where he went, and his descendants shall inherit it.
Num 27:18-19 And the LORD said to Moses: "Take Joshua the son of Nun with you, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him; "set him before Eleazar the priest and before all the congregation, and inaugurate him in their sight.
John 1:1-4 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.
Luke 5:37-38 "And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine will burst the wineskins and be spilled, and the wineskins will be ruined. " But new wine must be put into new wineskins, and both are preserved.