God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense

I am really excited about the opportunity to speak this week in our series on “Digging Deeply into the God of the Bible,” and share the fact that the God of the Bible is a “Giver of Grace.” The grace of God is such a beautiful, unfathomable, undeserved blessing.

I happened to be looking at an article in Leadership Journal from clear back in the Fall of 1995. While leafing through the journal, I saw an illustration about Harvey Penick’s, Little Red Book. This was Penick’s first book and it became a surprising bestseller, selling more than 1 million copies by 1992. It became the best-selling sports book of all time. The book contained Harvey Penick’s lessons on the game of golf, learned over a lifetime with the sport. It is regarded as required reading for all players and fans of the game of golf. (Perhaps I am a complete failure at the game of golf because I never read the Little Red Book.)

The story of how the the book came to be published is fascinating. Penick had collected a pile of notes which became the genesis of the book. He showed the notes to a writer friend to see if the writer thought the book might be worth publishing. The writer read the book, told him it was great. In fact, he pitched the proposal for the book to Simon and Schuster and within a day Penick’s writer friend called and left a message with Penick’s wife that Simon and Schuster wanted to publish the book with an advance of $90,000.

When the writer saw Penick a little later, the old man seemed deeply troubled, almost despondent. Finally, he came clean to his friend. He said, “With all my medical bills, there is no way I can advance Simon and Schuster that much money.” It took a little time and lot of convincing, but finally the writer convinced Penick that the publisher was offering to pay him $90,000 as an advance on the book, not the other way around.

Grace is something like that. We feel like we owe a huge debt that we will never be able to pay. The very thought of that can weigh us down and bring us despair. God pays our bill in full and gives his grace to us in Christ as a free gift.

What a joy to realize that instead of needing to pay God an insurmountable bill for sins already committed, God has decided to give us the priceless gift of grace – our sins are already paid for, in full!

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