Snow Day Grace
Snow Days have to be the world’s best example of modern day grace. Holidays, Spring Break, summer vacation; they are all on the calendar and we have them coming to us. In some way we earn the right to be out of school or off work on those days. But snow days, that’s an entirely different story. Snow days seem like free passes. They weren’t planned for. We did nothing to merit them. Kids sit eagerly in front of the TV set the night before and wait to see their county scroll across the bottom of the screen. (My daughter-in-law does that too.) When our county shows up, HOORAY, a free day off.
The first 4 verses of Romans are about grace, free passes, stuff we get that we don’t deserve. Romans 8:3 tells exactly how that grace came to be. Paul writes, “For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh,[a] God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.[b] And so he condemned sin in the flesh.” Now that does bring some questions to mind. Just what was the law powerless to do? What does it mean that sin was condemned? But the big picture is that we get a huge snow day, a pass, a free walk.
To find out what the law was powerless to do we have to see what God did. The last phrase in the verse says He CONDEMNED sin in the flesh. I asked my guys on Thursday what condemned means. Terry said, “It means it no longer usable, like a house condemned.” Bob said, “It is terminal, final, like being condemned to death.” I think they are both right.
Here’s the deal. God put Adam and Eve in the Garden and said “You’ve got one rule. Don’t eat the apple.” We couldn’t even keep that rule. So He said, “Let me break it down for you a little more. Keep these 10 Laws. Don’t kill. Don’t steal. Honor the Sabbbath.” And we blew that big time. The Jews tried to make it simpler but turning these 10 Laws into 700 rules and regulations. You see where this is going. The laws just kept getting more and more detailed, more complicated, and we kept breaking them. In fact, we came to understand that it was impossible for us to keep them.
And God knew that all along. He had this whole thing planned. So He says, “This law thing is no longer usable. I’m going to put an end to that way of living.” Now the law is still in place. God still needed “righteousness” from His children. (More on that later.) But God, through Jesus satisfies all of the legal requirements of the law and gives us credit for it. He sends Jesus in the flesh, just like me and you, and then uses Him and His sacrifice to pay the price required by the law.
It’s like a snow day. School is still out there. I still have to go to class and take my tests and do PE. But today, I get a pass. Don’t have to go in. HOORAY again. All I have to do is accept that. Now I could still get up. Put on my clothes. Go sit in the empty classroom and do my duty. But really all I need to do is say, “Snow Day. I’m off the hook.” That is grace.
Oh, there is one big difference. I have to go back to school or back to work tomorrow. But what Jesus did, well, Hebrews 9:28 says it was “once and for all.” Lifetime snow days. Sounds good to me.
We’ll talk about this more next Friday but for today, enjoy yourself. Quit trying to keep every single little law and rule and regulation in order to please God. Haven’t you watched your name scroll across the bottom of the screen? He has condemned that stuff and you get to stay in your PJ’s and watch Matlock re-runs. Grace……