If you’ve been listening to my podcasts for any length of time, you know how how important I think grace is. What a marvelous and awesome (in the true sense of the word) gift is grace. To receive forgiveness and favor from a righteous and holy God, not through my efforts at all, but because of the shed blood of his sinless son, is something that, when I think of it, I am often driven to my knees in thanksgiving.
Grace is something that we do not at all deserve. There is nothing that I can do to deserve it, nothing that I can do to earn it. If I worked my entire life, 24/7, doing nothing but good works, I would still not deserve God’s favor. Grace is the gift of God. But it is a gift, bought and paid for by our Savior, Jesus Christ.
But here’s the thing. We who are the recipients of this most valuable gift the Universe has ever seen, often take this grace for granted. When we sin, we hardly give any thought at all to our, “Forgive me Lord” confessions.
As a dad, there were so many times when my kids were young, that one kid would do something to the other that, when I found out, needed to be apologized for. I would tell the offending child, “Apologize to your brother.” And he’d say, “Sorry” in one of those voices that said, “I’m not really sorry, but Dad’s making me say it.”
This is often how I think we ask forgiveness of God. “Forgive me Lord. I blew it again.” But there is no real remorse. Of course, God knows the heart. And if there is no remorse, He is not impressed by your false confession.
But even if we are truly remorseful, many times we give scant thought to what it cost Jesus to buy our forgiveness. And we rarely do anything more than ask for forgiveness. We don’t, to use an old but meaningful word, *lament* over our sin.
I think we cheapen grace when we don’t lament over our sin.
In the beginning of our first chapter today, 1 Samuel 7, we saw that Israel truly demonstrated their lament after Samuel told them what they should do to turn back to the Lord. They obediently got rid of their false idols, and they worshipped only the Lord. But they didn’t stop there.
When they met at Mizpah, where Samuel was to pray for them, they drew water from the well and poured it out as an offering to the Lord. On that same day they went without eating to show their sorrow, and they confessed they had been unfaithful to the Lord.
Not satisfied to just give lip service to their repentance, they actually did something concrete, something that required a sacrifice on their part. They truly wanted to show God that they really meant what they said.
Yes, God knew their hearts. But putting action where their words were was a way for them to really make an outward demonstration that they were on the level.
Let’s endeavor to never take God’s grace for granted. Let’s not cheapen grace with a flippant, “Sorry.”