Our Gracious God (Part 1)
God is gracious! What exactly do we mean when we say that?

We mean God is full of goodwill, loving-kindness, and favor. Isn't this what we see in Genesis? God created mankind and provided everything we need here on Earth, not only to survive but to thrive. Then, when Adam & Eve sinned in the garden, God already had a gracious plan of redemption in mind to take care of sin and death. Genesis 3:15 hints at it when God said to the devil - "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel." Ultimately, the devil would "bruise" the woman's Seed (i.e., Jesus) on the heel. Satan would successfully slay Jesus, but our Redeemer rose from the dead on the third day, rendering Satan's apparent victory empty. By triumphing over sin and death, Jesus delivered a crushing blow to the Devil's head. This was a defeat Satan could never recover from. And all the way back in the Garden of Eden, we have this plan hinted at. Amazing grace!

Did mankind deserve a plan of redemption? No. That's part of God's wonderful grace--it's favor that is undeserved. God could have slain Adam & Eve for their disobedience and just forgot about the human race and planet Earth, but He didn't. However, He did essentially start over in Noah's day.

Genesis 6:5-8 reads:

"Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So the LORD said, 'I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.' But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD."

Noah was saved by God's grace! God favored him and told him what to do to be saved from the global deluge. Noah believed and obeyed, and was therefore saved (cf. 6:22). Clearly, God was gracious back in Genesis in creating mankind, in beginning to unveil a scheme of redemption, in saving Noah and his family, in making promises to Abram, Isaac, & Jacob, etc. The question for us, however, is this: Is God still gracious today? Absolutely! James 1:17 - "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning." God has not changed; He remains gracious.

What is the greatest gift of God's grace today? You are encouraged to reflect on that question; we will address it in our next lesson.