I guess we don't need grace if we don't first miss the mark and I guess I'm learning that.
Since I moved here I've been starting at the beginning in so many ways, but perhaps the most tangible of them is the original beginning, Genesis. My new Bible still looks new everywhere but the first 11 chapters. These are marked and wrinkled, coffee and tear stained. When you are left staring at the floor of your faith, there is nowhere to go but up and nowhere to start but here.
Adam and Eve, Noah and the flood, Cain and Abel, first sins and serpents, skins and sacrifices--this is the stuff God pulls back the curtains on for us. We are characters in a story of unbelievable occurrence. I mean that. Even if I have always believed what to you is pure foolishness, at the core of me it was still just a story, a telling of something that affected me and yet didn't affect me at all. What do we know, after all, of animal skins and sheep offerings?
This week I am thinking of my sins and faults. I am parked on the ways in which I have failed and the reticence of my heart to change. I am walking with Adam and Even in the garden, gathering leaves to cover my shame and hiding from the One who sees it all anyway.
For so long I have been acutely aware of the curse, the eternal struggle we have against the design of a Creator who knew better. I am familiar with every part of my sin and the consequences. And I am learning about grace, I am. I am learning that my real wrestle is not really against my sin, but against accepting the righteousness of Christ that covers it.
But this week I think about the animal skins, the blood shed, and the perfectly formed provision for our faults.
Because we are all legalistic at heart, fair in principle and meticulous in our categorizing, the wrestle is against the mindset that the punishment fits the crime. We do not execute for stolen cookies and broken hearts and we do not slap the hands of murderers and thieves. But I think, even more, we struggle to believe that God is keeping track of our sins only so that His provision is always exceeding the crime.
They were naked and ashamed, He sacrificed and covered.
Exceeding their sin's wrong with the largeness of His grace. In a perfect way. Providing what they lacked with a picture of what His goodness would look like time and time and time again.
He was preparing them for the gospel even then. Covering them with His righteousness even then.
This week I land on this: every awareness of my sin is another opportunity for me to see how God extends grace to me through his provision for me.