Gracious people believe in promises. They acknowledge that the present is broken, but they believe that brokenness is not the end of the story. They believe that things can and will get better.
Because of this belief in promises, gracious people are often dismissed. They seem naïve, innocent and blind to the facts. They seem oblivious to ‘real life’ in which people routinely make and break their promises. They seem vulnerable to a harsh world that preys on childish optimism.
But real grace, biblical grace is not dissuaded by broken human promises. When God created the world, He made a promise:
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them.” Genesis 1:27-28a (ESV)
God made a commitment to these human creatures, that He would bless them, because they are made in His image. Even after they rebelled, the promise remains. To Noah, He says:
“But I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you.” Genesis 6:18 (ESV)
And when Noah’s line rebels, God renews the promise again with Abraham, saying “…in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Genesis 12:3 (ESV) Then, from Genesis onward, we see this cycle repeat itself. God renews His promise, the people respond but then rebel. Then judgment happens, and God begins all over again, renewing the promise and re-creating a people.
God has not changed, and His promise has not changed. Through the apostle Paul we learn that,
“For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.” Romans 8:29 (NIV, 2011)
In Jesus the promise of creation is renewed. In Jesus we will again receive the blessing of God, because we re-made in the image of God. Male and female, we are His re-created children.
Gracious people believe promises because they know that God has made a promise, and we know that He does not give up on it. We know that He does not give up on us. We know that people fail, but we believe that God will not fail. God will get what God wants, a healed, holy and united people worshipping Him eternally. Trusting this promise is not foolishness on our part. It is the only wise path left to a struggling, failing world, a world which God still loves.