THINK: Reread verses 3-8 from The Message
“Dear friends, I’ve dropped everything to write you about this life of salvation that we have in common. I have to write insisting—begging!—that you fight with everything you have in you for this faith entrusted to us as a gift to guard and cherish. What has happened is that some people have infiltrated our ranks (our Scriptures warned us this would happen), who beneath their pious skin are shameless scoundrels. Their design is to replace the sheer grace of our God with sheer license—which means doing away with Jesus Christ, our one and only Master. I’m laying this out as clearly as I can, even though you once knew all this well enough and shouldn’t need reminding. Here it is in brief: The Master saved a people out of the land of Egypt. Later he destroyed those who defected. And you know the story of the angels who didn’t stick to their post, abandoning it for other, darker missions. But they are now chained and jailed in a black hole until the great Judgment Day. Sodom and Gomorrah, which went to sexual rack and ruin along with the surrounding cities that acted just like them, are another example. Burning and burning and never burning up, they serve still as a stock warning. This is exactly the same program of these latest infiltrators: dirty sex, rule and rulers thrown out, glory dragged in the mud.”
Think about the meaning of license or lawlessness. Now compare that to the meaning of grace and your own experiences of grace. What differences do you see between them? Sit back in silence and think back on experiences you’ve had with license – times you’ve done whatever you felt like, turning your back on what was right. Now consider experiences you’ve had with grace. Ask God to show you one of these experiences to focus on. Recall the details: What was it like for you? What was going on around you? What were you feeling about what you’d done wrong?
If you focused on an experience of license, maybe a time when you did not open up to God’s grace, were you aware of any other options at the time? What motivated you to choose the route you took? What did you feel later after the dust had settled?
If you focused on an experience of grace, recall how God made that grace known to you – maybe through another person or through something you read. What did it feel like to be presented with that option? What was it like to take God up on his grace?
PRAY: Thank God for his grace. Thank him for the incredible gift of forgiveness and all that it means in your life. Ask God what he wants you to take away from this time with him and his word.
Adapted from Eugene Peterson in Solo