I have the great privilege of working with our young adults as they walk through engagement and marriage at Cross Community Church. It is a delight to be a part of this most exciting season of life, especially hearing about the surprise plans the guys have for asking their sweethearts for their hands in marriage and presenting them with the ring.
In coaching them through this wonderful time, I like to use one of their real “engagement experiences” to help illustrate God’s amazing grace. During the process of selecting the engagement ring, the jeweler places the prospective diamonds on a black velvet cloth. The black background enhances the beauty and brilliance of the sparkling diamonds.
While far from a perfect picture of God’s amazing grace, this still serves as a wonderful example that we can talk through and anchor into the hearts of a young couple. Against the black background of our sinful and stained condition, God’s grace sparkles like the most beautiful diamond the world has ever seen!
Where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 5:20-21)
In light of our natural condition of being “dead in our transgressions” (Ephesians 2:1), God’s amazing grace broke through our black background and “made us alive with Christ” (Ephesians 2:5). What we deserved was death and eternal damnation. What we received was life and eternal rest with Christ. God had a wonderful remedy for our complete and utter ruin, and His name is Jesus Christ!
His grace is our “divine diamond,” which sparkles and shines brightly against our black, sinful background . . . not only in the process of our salvation, but daily in the process of our sanctification (growing in Christ-likeness). You see, we never grow past our need of the Gospel. We needed it when we were saved and we need it now as we are being sanctified. The Gospel is for sinners, and that is what we still are after Jesus shows up. What a divine diamond it is, to know “where sin increased, grace increased all the more.”
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!