Wouldn’t it be great if we got jokers in life?
According to Wikipedia, a joker is “a playing card, usually printed with a picture of a jester, used in certain games as the highest-ranking card or as a wild card.”
You play it and it trumps everything else. You win.
What if we had a card like that in life that we could play once every time we ran into a bad situation? We whip out our joker and, voila, we win.
The scales accuse you of weighing ten pounds too much? No problem. You slap down that joker and the fat melts away. But remember, you can only use it once in our game, so use it wisely.
Policeman stops you? Joker! “Oh, excuse me sir. I thought you were going 85 instead of 65. My mistake.”
“No problem officer. Just see that it doesn’t happen again.” A smug smile sits upon your face as you drive away without a ticket.
Your wife is furious with you? Why, worry? You’ve got a joker. Play it and she’ll be smiling and cooking your favorite meal. Let me give you a little advice here, though. Since you can only use it once you better think hard before you play this joker. Life is long and you’ll be tempted to use this one often.
What if you play it and then you REALLY need it afterwards?
In a way God’s grace is our joker. We lived in a horrible situation, lost in our sin and rebellion, separated from God. Love caused God to send His only Son to die for us. We were pardoned freely as we responded to His grace, simply receiving salvation by faith.
“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace …” (Eph 1:7) We’re free from eternal condemnation. We enter God’s family without paying. Another paid for us.
But grace is different from other jokers. It not only solves the immediate problem but digs down to tackle the long-term problem. Real grace doesn’t just forgive you–it changes you.
Anything less than that is probably an expression of what Dietrich Bonhoeffer described as “cheap grace.”
Sometimes people sin freely, thinking, “Ah, I know it’s not good, but we’re just human and God is full of grace. So, no worry.”
But is that what grace is about? Grace is a teacher, Listen to what it teaches.
“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ …” (Titus 2:11-13, NKJV)
What’s more God’s grace gives us the power to defeat sin. Before that was impossible because we were sin’s slave. Now, we can live in a way pleasing to God by the power of His grace.
“For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.” (Rom. 6:14).
Grace is powerful and it makes us powerful against sin. Sure it’s a combat and sure we fail at times. But we ask God’s forgiveness and pick ourselves up and continue. And if we fall again, we ask forgiveness again and we keep going. How many times will He forgive? How ever many times it takes.
Just make sure that you’re serious about defeating sin because God sees our heart and He knows when we’re using “grace” as an excuse to exercise our desire to sin.
Grace is not just a “get out of jail free card.” It’s a “stay out of jail card!”
Just because it’s free to us, that doesn’t mean that someone didn’t pay a supreme price for it.
“An army of sheep led by a lion would defeat an army of lions led by a sheep.” (From the book, The Traveler’s Story)