Grace Opens Your Heart
Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?
Romans 2:4 NLT
You’ve got to love the story of short, little Zacchaeus, who had climbed a sycamore tree hoping to catch a glimpse of Jesus as He walked by (Luke 19:1–10). Zacchaeus was a corrupt tax collector, a rich sinner.
But when Jesus spoke to him, instead of giving him the Ten Commandments, Jesus showed him grace (undeserved favor) and invited Himself to Zacchaeus’ house. Of course, the religious people in the crowd were displeased and gossiped among themselves saying, “He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner” (Luke 19:7).
Now, observe what happened in Zacchaeus’ house. Before the dinner was over, Zacchaeus was giving his wealth away to the poor and making restitution to those whom he had wronged, and Jesus was proclaiming salvation over Zacchaeus’ house.
I believe that it was the Holy Spirit who put this story side by side with that of the rich young ruler in Luke 18. I don’t believe that the two stories in the Gospel of Luke happened chronologically. But I believe that the Holy Spirit placed them in this divine order to show us the contrasting effects of being under the covenant of law and being under the covenant of grace.
When the rich young ruler came boasting in his law keeping, Jesus answered with the law, and the young man walked away sorrowful (Matt. 19:22). But when Jesus gave no law and showed His grace, it not only opened Zacchaeus’ heart, but also the wallet of a once corrupt tax collector.
That’s truly the power of grace! It leads one to true repentance. You see, when you experience God’s grace, you can’t help but be generous.
After Jesus lavished His unconditional love and grace on Zacchaeus, his heart overflowed with the undeserved, unmerited, and unearned favor of God. Zacchaeus knew deep in his heart that as a sinner and corrupt tax collector, he did not deserve to have Jesus come to his house.
But God’s goodness far exceeded his expectations. And just as Peter was brought to his knees when he saw Jesus’ goodness, Zacchaeus was led to repentance when he experienced Jesus’ goodness.
Unlike the young ruler, Zacchaeus knew that he was undeserving and that is why Jesus was able to shower grace on him. You see, the role of the law is to bring you to a place where you know in no uncertain terms that you cannot do anything to deserve God’s salvation and blessings, and how you can only rely on His grace. His grace will give you all the blessings you need and transform your life.
My friend, our heavenly Father is waiting for us to give up on our own efforts. The moment you begin to repent from all the dead works that you have been doing to try to qualify for and deserve God’s acceptance and blessings, God will lavish on you His abundant grace—His undeserved, unearned, and unmerited favor.
Today, turn your eyes away from yourself and see yourself enjoying the undeserved favor of God under the new covenant of grace. See yourself forgiven and righteous with Jesus’ righteousness. Be occupied with Him and His grace, and like Zacchaeus, you will be transformed from the inside out.
This devotional is taken from the book Reign in Life—90 Powerful Inspirations for Extraordinary Breakthroughs.
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