Saul: cause and effect…

Cover to Cover

Reading: 1 Chronicles 10:1-14

Focus: 1 Chronicles 10:13-14

It is hard to deny that life is full of cause-and-effect. You act one way, the cause, and things will turn out another, the effect. If you touch a hot stove, expect to be burnt. If you speed through a red light, expect a fine in the mail (I should know)! If you don’t discipline kids, expect disobedience. If you eat a lot of junk food, expect to put on weight if you don’t exercise. It is the natural order of things, if you do certain things, expect certain things in return.

Yet, when we come to faith issues, or the Biblical narrative, we seem to think that the rules change. Well, it is not so much that they do change than it is that they can change. Here, in the story of Saul, we have a clear case of cause-and-effect. Saul’s choices in life led to his demise. To the Jewish mind, such as the writer of Chronicles, this point was not overlooked. Saul’s sin was sufficient reason for God to take the kingdom from his family and give it over to David.

We preach a gospel of grace, that I cannot deny. However, we do not preach a gospel of, what I call, inclusive grace—that is, God’s grace does not negate the natural consequences of our sins; rather, we preach a gospel of, what I call, exclusive grace—that is, God’s grace negates the ultimate price of our sins: death. The work of redemption through the death and resurrection of Jesus’ death finds the ultimate effect of sin—that is, death—atoned for once and for all. However, it does not and need not remove the everyday consequences of our sin. If we abuse or despise other people, do not expect goodwill from others. If we neglect to do our jobs, do not expect to pay (whether monetary or recognition) for work you have not done. This, inclusive grace, is cheap grace and it is not the grace that Jesus died for.

Next Reading: 2 Samuel 1:1-3:21