For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not? 1 Corinthians 4:7

We live in the New Testament era and it’s easy to take God for granted. We expect God to overlook our misdeeds, to comfort us when we are in trouble, and give us grace regardless of our behaviour. We cheapen God’s grace when we underestimate our sin. Matthew Jacoby wrote about the flood in Noah’s time in his devotional booklet, Thrive (on 10 March 2010), “Grace is favour for those who deserve judgment. But grace has no meaning unless we understand clearly the judgment of which we are deserving. This is what the flood shows. It demonstrates the justice of God in response to sin.”

We deserved death but God shows us grace. Some Christians complain that the Old Testament is too violent yet much of it is God’s just response to a world corrupted by sin. God wiped out entire cities and nations because their depravity was so overwhelming. Not even children were spared because they would perpetuate the cycle of sin. We take grace for granted when we don’t consider the depth of our sin compared to the heights of God’s holiness.

Paul writes, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). When we understand the enormous gift of God’s grace, we realize we have nothing to boast about. Our very life is a gift because we deserved death. The appropriate response is to be so overwhelmed with gratitude that we lose all desire to sin.