Now I’m not one to split hairs, so “first act of grace” will be however you view it. You may see it as Adam and Eve’s banishment from the Garden or Abram’s faith. Then, grace may only be a New Testament thing for you.
But what I deem God’s primary act of grace is the Law of Moses.
Let’s say your life is a mad love affair with chocolate. (Stay with me!) You love it all, from Mars and Hersey’s to Ghiradelli and Godiva. You may even like Nutella. You have chocolate warm with breakfast, sole as a midday snack, and as your evening sedative with dinner. When you’re happy, chocolate is your best friend; when you’re sad, “Dr. Chocolate” counsels you.
Now, Big Brother decided that it’s only right that society should know exactly what’s in their foods. So all food products get tattooed right on their backsides with a prominently displayed nutritional facts labels. Some folk are cool with it and others are chagrinned.
The Law of Moses is like this nutrition label.
One day after making Paul eat his words about bodily exercise profiting you little, you sneak your first peek at the label on the Mr. Goodbar you just woofed down as your reward for being so doggoned awesome—and WHAM! right in the teeth.
A Yoo-hoo for Grace!
“I thought you said, ‘First act of grace’!” Well I did. Let me explain that food label.
You see, previously, when you were caught up in chocolate heaven, you were oblivious to the value or lack thereof of chocolate to your health. Perhaps you had no real sense of your overall eating style. When you finally read that label, however, you felt condemned because you realized that you exceed what is healthy.
This doesn’t make the label bad; instead, it makes you bad.
Yet we must understand the purpose of the label. It was added to help you see the facts of your condition, whether you were doing well by it or not. But the label couldn’t afford you more than that, as you watched yourself become what you ate. It wasn’t designed to give you a killer bod.
Now this is where the analogy ends. But there’s one thing left to say. Can you see how it was never God’s intention to save with the Law of Moses? It merely revealed the human sinful condition. Conversely, it was always God’s purpose to show his kindness and freely give us the fitness we only failed at achieving.