The idea of unmerited favor may not be familiar to you because you grew up in a performance based environment. The no "free lunch" mindset is all too familiar to most of us. The industrious are rewarded far more then the slackers. It seems only fair, right?
Fortunately, God doesn't look at us that way, especially when it comes to showering us with His love and benefits. This section will include my insights and experiences with Gods unmerited favor and I hope to encourage you to learn about and expect it in your life as well.
If you may be thinking that this whole concept of unmerited favor is my own distorted view of God or that it's a new doctrine being touted by those with selfish intentions let me put your fears to rest.
Unmerited favor is God's Idea!
Let me start by sharing two passages of scripture that point out the degree to which God desires to pour out His unmerited favor on all of us.
"For God so loved the world that he gave us His one and only son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life" Jn 3:16
"But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" Rom 5:8
Once we give these passages serious consideration we can begin to see that it was God who was reaching out to us, not the other way around. None of us "find religion" or "find God", God was never lost. We are the ones who lose our way and are in need of a search and rescue party.
Adams rebellion against God in the garden brought down upon all mankind the dysfunction we all suffer from. It was not the state in which we were originally created. That original "sin" lead to the first murder. God's punishment was to banish Cain from his presence. Even then Cain realized how great a punishment he would endure for his sin.
Even before Christ left heaven to become the God-Man that would save all humanity from its path of self-destruction the early saints looked forward to a savior and the favor he would pour out on them that would bring restoration to all creation.
Moses prayed the following prayer expressing his need for God's unmerited favor;
"If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people." Ex 33:13
Throughout his ministry Moses was always pursuing God. His first encounter with the great I AM was in the form of a burning bush. He admits to God that he is not equipped to lead the Jewish people out of Egypt as God has called him to do. The story of the Exodus illustrates his reliance on and need for God.
What Moses accomplished was entirely done as a result of God's unmerited favor. The entire Jewish nation survived the wilderness experience and entered the promised land only because of the favor of God. Not one of them grew feeble, none starved to death, not one ever came down with an illness, they may have been poor and broke slaves for 400 years but they left with the wealth of Egypt in their possession.
Now that's what I call unmerited favor, they did nothing to deserve such a blessing. God never asked them to do anything, there was no qualifier.
These Old Testament passages should not discourage you from expecting anything from God. The bible teaches us that God is the same yesterday, today and forever.
You only need to look to the work that was completed on the cross at Calvary and ask yourself, "what more could Jesus do?". If you have never viewed the movie, Passion of the Christ I recommend you find it and watch it again.
Even if you've already seen it you would benefit from seeing it again and look at it from God's perspective.
The scene where Christ is in the courtyard chained to a stone fixture and is being beaten is very moving. The part that really touches me each time I see it is when he has been severely beaten and has fallen to the ground, and the Roman soldiers think he is dead, yet Jesus gets up once again to receive even more punishment.
What would possess someone to endure such inhumane treatment?
LOVE. "But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us " Rom 5:8
If your children had treated you the way the Jews of the time had treated Christ would you still subject yourself to such punishment and then allow yourself to be crucified even though you didn't deserve it?
That's the favor of God. Each time you now look to the cross I want you to remember that because of the ultimate price that God the father paid for you, to redeem you, you are no longer kept at a distance but can approach Him as a child of God.
By trusting in the work that Christ did at the cross you are now a child, not a servant or a stranger, and can be confident that you can live your new life in the unmerited favor of your heavenly father. There's nothing you need to do or can do to enhance what Christ has already done for you. Be confident in that truth.
So how does anyone today tap into this favor? By faith.
"Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him." Heb 10:38
"Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." Lk 12:32
"And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him." Heb 11:6
The entire bible points to the love that our heavenly has for us. My guess is that your view of him probably needs an adjustment. Rather than viewing him as a stern judge or taskmaster He wants to be viewed as a loving father who desires to lavishly bless his children. All it takes is faith.
To believe that he exist is not really a difficult thing. If you're honest with yourself you already know deep down inside that you've always suspected that there was someone greater than everyone else in this life. God placed within you a craving that could only be filled by Him.
All of creation points to a creator. By it's very design we can discover that everything has its origin in the imagination. Every tree, insect, mammal and person has such an intricate design that no one could reject the idea that there was not a designer behind it all.
The way that the ecosystem works together points to a benevolent engineer who was thinking of us and all living things when he designed and put it into place. I've discovered that it's harder to discount the existence of God than to acknowledge that he does exist.
Stop looking to yourself or others like you for the solutions to your problems. Christ tells us, "...I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." He is our resurrected Lord. He conquered sin and death. Do you actually think that there is anything else he can't conquer? Your sickness, shame, anger, infirmity, poverty, depression, addiction, or your brokenness? Nothing is too difficult for Him.
I recommend that you seek God through the word, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men."
You don't even have to buy a bible these days. All you need is an app on your tablet or smartphone. There is no excuse to not discover who God is and to experience his unmerited favor. The future articles I'll be adding will hopefully help you discover more about the favor of God, so please come back often.
Rating 5 Stars - This book is filled with amazing revelation of God's love and grace towards us and all he has done for us through the finished work of the cross. It is refreshingly consistent with the teaching of the Bible and is the exact opposite of the untrue message that God is angry and judging the world for its sins.
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