Touching Grace
By Winslow Parker

"...the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ." (John 1:17)

The word "realized" in the NASB translation has a deep and rich meaning, far beyond what the single word can convey. It's Greek counterpart is genomai. We use words like "genome," "generation," "genealogy," "generation," all having to do with beginnings, origins and starting points. My generation begins with me and my wife. We have two children. They have, between them, three children. The first book of the Bible is Genesis-the book of beginnings. The creation of the world, the beginning-over of Noah. The beginning of the blessing in Abraham, the beginning of Israel and the Jewish nation are all topics in this first book.

In John 1:17, then, we can say first that it means that Jesus was the source, the beginning, of grace. "...grace and truth began in, originated in, Jesus Christ." The word is used in many ways. Here are some of them. " fulfilled in Jesus Christ." " published is Jesus Christ." Jonathan Mitchell's translation of the New Testament says it this way, "because the Law was given through Moses, yet grace and truth are birthed (or: joyous favor and reality came to be) through Jesus Christ."

In short, we could say, "Jesus is grace." He doesn't just give us grace, for He is grace itself. Having Him, we have grace. Like a gift in a box, wherever the box goes, the gift goes. Another way of thinking about it is that grace cannot be received outside of Jesus Christ Himself.

If this is true, then, in the following verse, the disciples were touching grace.

"Who was from the beginning, Whom we have heard, Whom we have seen with our eyes, Whom we have looked at and touched with our hands...Whom we have seen and heard we proclaim to you" (1 Jn. 1:1, 3).

Did they know they were touching Grace Himself? I think not, while He was with them. Later, of course they did.

You and I do not have that privilege, that gift of being with Him. We have, however, another privilege which we can know and experience in our present world. We are surrounded by grace. I mean this in the spiritual sense, as in, "I am saved by grace." But I also mean it in a quite literal way as well.

I did not choose to be born. My life is an act of grace. I did not choose my parents. They were an act of grace. I did not choose my country, my social status or the color of my skin. These are all acts of grace. The world around me is a complete act of grace-the rain that falls, the earth that absorbs it, the rivers, clouds and sea-all are acts of grace. The house I live in, the work I did, the money I earned; all acts of grace. My wife, my children and grandchildren; acts of grace as well.

What can I point to, what do I have, what did I do in my life, where have I been, what good or ill that has come to me is not an act of grace? It is all of grace, from beginning to end. His grace has provided all. We can claim nothing.

Therefore, when I touch anything, from the dirt to the air, I am touching an act of grace. In a careful holy way, I can say, "I am touching Jesus." He, the source of grace, the living-out of grace has given this all to me, to us. Everything, every person, every moment is, in this sense, Jesus Himself.

I do not mean that things or people or time is divinity, but divinity infuses all things being an act of grace in its provision. We, too, then, hear, see, touch, taste and smell Jesus in those things which are provided by His grace. In particular, I touch Him in each of you who are a part of His Body. You are each an act of grace in my life, a channel of Grace in this world.

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