Unnatural grace

To those who explain that Mary gave birth to Jesus naturally, I say: the virgin birth of Jesus is as unnatural of a birth as you can find, as the very grace of God itself is unnatural. That’s something to contemplate at Christmastime.

“This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:18). Joseph and Mary hadn’t yet come together sexually in marriage, so Mary couldn’t be pregnant—except, she was! Mary became pregnant miraculously by the power of God the Holy Spirit. She gave birth not just to a human being but to a human being who was also God.

That’s unnatural! Virgins don’t give birth. And God is not a person. Except when the grace of God is involved. Because the grace of God is so unnatural.

It’s unnatural for people who let God down too much to receive his faithful, forgiving love. It’s unnatural for people who forget about God too often to have God answer a prayer when they suddenly remember they need something. It’s unnatural for people who carelessly go through the motions of everyday Christian behavior or Sunday worship to believe in repentance that God—because of his grace and forgiveness—smiles with delight even at these half-empty expressions.

Grace is not logical, explainable, or subject to formulas. It’s a miracle. Even in you.

Pastor Daron Lindemann is pastor at a new mission start in Pflugerville, Texas. Previously he served in downtown Milwaukee and in Irmo, South Carolina. Daron has authored articles or series for Forward in Christmagazine, Preach the Word, and his own weekly Grace MEMO devotions. He lives in Texas with his wife, Cara, and has two adult sons.

 

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