I am sure this title has messed with you already! How can God’s precious grace be anything but greasy, let alone an arrow? I agree. This title came to me as I was waking up from a good night’s sleep. “Grace is a greasy arrow” is what I heard as I opened my eyes. Immediately I asked God, “What does THAT mean?” Needless to say, my days after this turned out to be a quest in seeking out what God meant by giving me those words as I woke up.
Grace Is A Greasy Arrow
Today, people, especially Christians, are not quick to give grace to people. Far too often we judge and criticize others after making a quick judgement of their actions. We even assume they are a certain way, or did a certain thing, and put them in a “I don’t agree with their lifestyle or choices” category. We label them “sinners” and cast judgement that they are guilty, or even worse, talk behind their back to others what we think about them. The very thing we accuse them of – sin – is the very thing we do when we judge people and don’t offer them mercy and grace. We throw daggers or arrows of judgement so quick, we don’t even think of our actions being wrong. Often it is a life-style of judging others. It is who we are, or who we have become. This should not be.
I believe there is something within us that we don’t want to look bad compared to other people so we are quick to criticize and judge someone who has messed up or has done something wrong. This should not be.
Have you ever been on the receiving end of judgement? I remember being in court over a traffic ticket. Thinking I would be given mercy and grace, but instead I was judged guilty and had to pay the fine. Even after trying to state my case when they asked me to do so, the verdict was guilty. I hated being in the court room. I have only been there a few times in my life and really don’t care to be again. My fate was out of my hands. Being judged is not a fun place to be, in fact it can be very painful.
Maybe you are one who has a hard time receiving God’s grace? You have done wrong and have not forgiven yourself. No one deserves God’s grace. Grace is really God’s love extended to you in spite of what you have done, who you are, or what you will become. There is something about the grace of God that penetrates the heart immediately. Personally, I have experienced God’s grace quicker then any human was willing to offer it to me. It comes right down to receiving the grace of God and walking away from doing what doesn’t please Him.
You will find trying to please people is futile. There will always be someone who doesn’t like you or what you are doing. There will always be a person ready to tell you what you have done wrong in their eyes. The bottom line, we live to please God and not man.
God is the Master archer. He puts grace on the arrow of love to give to people that penetrates the heart immediately. Not greasy grace, but a greasy arrow to quickly hit the heart of those who need it. We all need grace from God.
Psalm 86:6 ESV
“Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer; listen to my plea for grace.”
Psalm 9:13 – 15 ESV
“Be gracious to me, O LORD! See my affliction from those who hate me, O you who lift me up from the gates of death, that I may recount all your praises, that in the gates of the daughter of Zion I may rejoice in your salvation. The nations have sunk in the pit that they made; in the net that they hid, their own foot has been caught.”
Here we see how King David cried out to God to be gracious because his enemy has set traps of judgement and wanted him dead. God is the ultimate judge, not man. He is the one who is just and righteous, not man. This verse indicates the very net placed to snare David, his enemies were caught in. We have to remember when we judge, we will be judged, and with the same measure we will be judged by God.
Luke 6:37 – 38 NKJV
“Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”
If you have been a Christian for any length of time, I am sure you have heard those verses before. We have to remind ourselves Who is the ultimate judge and release people from the judgement we place on them.
There is a difference between the grace God gives and the grace the world gives. The world looks at grace as “charm” or “elegance” (Dictionary). But the grace God offers is far different. God’s grace is His unmerited (not deserved) favor He gives to us. To take the word “grace” to the original Hebrew (Strongs Hebrew and Greek Definitions #H2603) it means “to bend or stoop in kindness, merciful, or to have mercy, have pity upon, or make supplication ”
We should be sentenced to Hell and eternal damnation, but instead, God extended His grace to us and showed mercy by sending His Son to die on the cross. When we believe and ask Jesus in our heart as Lord and Savior, we will spend eternity with Him when we die. In other words, we are saved from burning in hell. That is where the expression comes; “Saved by grace.” His grace saves us not only from hell, but from so many stupid things we have done in our lives. He offers forgiveness as far as the East is from the west.
Psalm 103:12 (NKJV)
“As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”
Have you heard the expression; “There’s an app for that?” This is referring to any application you would like to do on your Smartphone, tablet, or Computor. I would like to extend that saying to what ever you have done, “There is grace for that.” Grace hits the mark every time. If you have robbed a bank; “There is grace for that!” If you have committed adultery; “There is grace for that!” If you have stolen or did a crime; “There is grace for that!” Not to abuse God’s grace and commit all these things and more knowing “There is grace for that!” But to turn from and stop doing what doesn’t please God. Give yourself freedom from the bondage of the wrong you have done and receive God’s grace even when you don’t think you deserve it. God’s grace hits the mark every time. His grace is a greasy arrow. It penetrates the hardest of hearts.
I would like to sum up the title of this message with a great story from the Bible. There are three different accounts of this story in the New Testament and all had to do with an Alabaster flask of costly spikenard oil.
Anointing of Jesus
Mark 14:3 – 9 talks about Jesus being in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper for dinner. A woman with an alabaster flask of costly oil of Spikenard came and broke the flask and poured it on Jesus’ head and anointed Jesus with the costly perfume. There were some seated there who became indignant and wanted to know why it was wasted because they could have sold it for 300 denarii and given money to the poor. They criticized her sharply. Jesus stood up for her and said to “Leave her alone.” and said, “Why do you trouble her? She has done a good thing for me.” The poor you will always have but me you will not always have. She anointed me for burial.” “Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.” (Mark 14:9)
John 12:1 – 8 is similar to Mark’s account as it took place in Bethany, but this time Lazarus was there and so was Martha and Mary. Mary is the one who took the pound of Spikenard and anointed Jesus’ feet and wiped with her hair. One of the Disciples, Judas, asked why not sell the oil for 300 denarii and give the money to the poor. Judas didn’t care about the poor. He was in charge of the cash box and would take what was put in it for himself. He was critical of such a loving gesture by Mary, and yet he did worse things in secret. Again, Jesus stood up for her and said to leave her alone as she has kept this for my burial. The poor you will always have, but you will not always have me.
Luke 7:36 – 50 in this account of Jesus being anointed before burial, he had dinner at a Pharisee’s house (some scholars indicate Simon the leper was a Pharisee). A “sinful woman” came and broke open the alabaster flask of spikenard and stood behind Jesus weeping and anointed his feet and wiped them with her hair and tears. She kissed his feet often. A Pharisee spoke to himself that if this man was a prophet he would know what kind of woman was touching him. She was a sinner. Jesus, knowing what was in Simon’s heart spoke to him a parable of two debtors. One owed 500 denarii and the other owed 50 denarii. Both were forgiven of their debt and Jesus asked Simon which one loved more? Simon answered the one who was forgiven more and he answered correctly. Jesus shared to Simon that He entered his house and Simon didn’t offer any water to wash his feet, but the woman washed His feet with her tears. Simon didn’t offer any kiss to Jesus, but she has not ceased to kiss my feet since the time they came in. You didn’t anoint my head with oil, but the woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. Jesus said, “Her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little” (Luke 7:47). Then He forgave her sins and those who sat at the table with Him became critical saying, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”
Grace hit the target!
All three accounts show the grace of God in action to this woman.
1. She was granted favor (Bull’s eye)
She gave Jesus her all. Something so extravagant as this costly perfumed oil must have taken many years to save up to buy. Who knows, it might have come by the very sinful deeds she was accused of in the account in Luke 7. But, she gave it willingly to pour out her love on the very one who forgave her of all the wrong she had done. He didn’t judge her, only grace was given. This grace pierced the barriers of bondage and judgement of those in the room with them.
Jesus gave her His favor. His attention was on her. He gave her His love. No one else in the room caught Jesus’ attention like this woman did.
2. Criticized for extravagance
Being critical of others blocks God’s grace, but humility and love for Jesus gives an open target for grace to hit! ~ Pastor Kris Belfils
Being critical of others pushes you away from God. Give grace to people and see how close to God you become! ~ Pastor Kris Belfils
People criticize extravagance. She was criticized for this extravagant gesture on her part by religious people. In the Prodigal Son he was criticized for all the extravagance given to him when he came back home. The criticism came from his own brother. A member of his own family was extremely harsh in judgement towards him. Often today people are criticized for their love for God and how they express it, and usually the criticism comes from a member of their own church. People are criticized for what they do for God, especially if it goes against the traditions of their denomination. Why is it that we get criticized the most from fellow Christians?
3. Jesus was her advocate
Jesus stood up for her in the middle of the criticism she was receiving. He put a stop to their accusations. He said to leave her alone. He asked why they troubled her because what she did was a good thing. What man thinks is bad, often God approves as good!
Jesus is a friend to sinners. He doesn’t cast a judgmental glance at those who need to be forgiven. Quit the opposite. Jesus is drawn to sinners. It is the sick who need a doctor, not the healthy. Jesus came for a sick and dying world. He came for you and me. If we ever think we don’t need Jesus in our lives, we will be like a Pharisee with self-righteousness in our hearts. We will be deceived. We all need a Savior. We all need an advocate to stand up for us because if we would stand up for ourselves we would fall short and be lacking.
4. She was forgiven
Luke 7:47 (NKJV)
“Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.”
I remember when my oldest daughter was around two or three years old. We were driving in the car and she looked at me and asked what it meant to have Jesus in her heart. I explained that we all do bad things and we need to ask Jesus in our hearts to live there and to forgive all the bad things we have done. She proceeded to pray, with her eyes closed and her hands folded, “Jesus please come into my heart to live!” and then at the very end she said, “… and the bad things.” It was a precious moment for me as her mom, and for her because that is when her new life began with Jesus living inside of her.
What bad things have you done in your life? Have you been forgiven much? Then love extravagantly your Savior and live your life to please Him.
She was remembered through out the ages for what she did that day for Jesus.
Mark 14:9 (NKJV)
“Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.”
I know she didn’t anoint Jesus for honor. She did it out of love, yet the very thing she was criticized for was the very thing which made her famous. She was humble and broken. No pride was in her. She just had a need to pour her love on Jesus.
God honors what we do for Him. He knows our heart and our intent. He also knows where we have been and what we have done. Allow God’s greasy arrow of grace to hit the target of your need. It never misses.
Pastor Kris Belfils