God’s Grace; February 21, 2018

Jeremiah 31:14 “I will satisfy the priests with abundance,
and my people will be filled with my bounty,”
declares the Lord.

Sometimes the more literal Japanese translation is interesting. In this case, it says, “I will satisfy the souls of the priests with marrow, and my people will be filled with my grace.” We don’t currently have the association of cracking bones open to eat the marrow with luxury, but many cultures have considered it that way. The Japanese word for grace also carries the general meaning of blessing, so it’s not so surprising when reading this in Japanese, but when put back over into English it is somewhat striking. The message of salvation by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9) is actually found throughout the Bible, but isn’t so explicit until the New Testament. Again, the Japanese phrase is literally, “be filled and have enough.” That is one of the amazing things about God’s grace: there’s always enough. I have long loved the hymn, Grace Greater than our Sin. Because I couldn’t find a Japanese translation I did my own, and we sing it fairly frequently in this church. God’s grace isn’t about giving permission for sin, but rather providing redemption when we confess and repent of our sin. “Hyper grace” does violence to God’s holiness, but if we repent of our sin, God’s grace is always enough.

I am certainly as much in need of God’s grace as anyone, and I rejoice to proclaim that grace to others. My life, though not that of a millionaire, would certainly be considered luxurious by much of the world’s population today. I have no complaints about God! Like Paul, “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:12-13) I haven’t had much experience in being hungry because food wasn’t available, and I have long said that given the quality of Cathy’s cooking, it’s a miracle I’m not the size of a sumo wrestler! I have found that God’s unmerited blessings are indeed amazing and always enough, and I’m deeply grateful.

Father, thank You for your grace. Words fail me to express either its magnificence or my gratitude. It’s pretty unusual for me to be at a loss for words! Help me respond to Your grace more and more fully, being the obedient son that You desire, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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