Always a Step Ahead
No doubt any believer would quickly “Amen” that God is there first. Whether it’s a “before you call I will answer” or a study on prevenient grace or that marvelous declaration in Romans of His love for us “while we were yet sinners”, a student of the Word easily accepts God’s initiatory behavior. That, ours is responsive, not creative. The recent marketing of I Am Second illustrates man’s pole position in life’s race.
In practical terms, though, believers may live their lives as though God is a first- responder, as if my needs present a new opportunity for His involvement as my need-Meeter.
Christ-follower, Peter, is often maligned for his temper, his foot-in-mouth tendencies and his conversation dominance, more than for the remarkable statements of faith he made. As Jesus neared the time of His passion, John records several of His last words, which include his rebuttal to Peter’s proclamation of whole-heartedness…that the verbal one would, in fact, be denying Christ three times before the rooster crowed. Peter’s presumptuous pride has gotten lots of copy. Two verses prior, though, when Peter asked the Lord where He was going, Jesus said, “Where I go, you cannot follow Me now; but you will follow later.”
If you take that to simply mean that just as Jesus would die, Peter would likewise face death, then a marvelous promise gets overlooked. I wonder if it occurred to Pete that despite the denial he was to express, Jesus had already promised something that would trump his failure. That before his sin, grace was already present to cover his failure. That Christ’s commitment to Peter was greater than Peter’s imminent failure of commitment to Christ.
Paul captures a bit of that promise with “where sin did abound, grace did much more abound”, and the implication is that grace was there first.
Think of your own struggles. When you fall down, do you ask God for grace to help you get up? Or do you realize His grace is already there to cover your stumbling, and you are able to rise up because His grace was there before you ever fell? What if, instead of thinking faith is our attempt to get God to do something, we saw faith as trusting that He has already done the something we now need?
He tells us in advance, so that we may believe. HE IS I AM. And He was already where you are. Grace So Amazing.