Faith Rising – Gospel in Life

Faith Rising

Tim Keller |  August 12, 1990

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  • Sin
  • Redemption
  • Salvation
Jonah 2:1-10
RS 10-4


The plot line of Jonah goes like this. Chapter 1: God says to Jonah, “Go and preach to Nineveh, the greatest city in the world.” Chapter 2: Jonah refuses and flees on a boat. Chapter 3: God sends a great storm on the ocean to reclaim Jonah. Chapter 4: Jonah is thrown into the sea and swallowed by a fish.

The point of all of this is in this chapter, almost exactly in the very center of the book. The point is about God’s grace. This book says a religious professional, a preacher, and even more than that, a prophet who received direct revelation from God can be deeply and profoundly in the dark about God’s grace. Jonah’s deepest fears, his racial prejudice, and his lack of endurance are all tied to his blindness to the reality of grace.

Let’s look at three questions that this passage answers for us: 1. What is the grace of God? 2. How do you receive the grace of God? 3. How do you know you have received the grace of God in your life?

Jonah 2:1–10

The story of Jonah shows us a deep truth about God’s kindness, or “grace.” Even prophets like Jonah can forget how amazing this grace is, leading to fear, bias, and lack of patience. When Jonah prays from inside the fish, he finally gets it – he realizes that being saved is all up to God and that if we hang onto things that don’t matter, we miss out on this grace. The story ends by getting us to think about how we understand, accept, and show God’s grace in our own lives. It tells us that really getting God’s grace can be a big change, like deciding to follow Jesus.

1. What is grace?

In the Old Testament, grace is like an undeserved gift that lets you into places you don’t belong, given by someone who doesn’t have to give it. This gift, or grace, is how God invites us into His presence, meets our needs, and shows us that being liked by others is nothing compared to knowing Him. The good news of Jesus tells us that true happiness and acceptance are only found in God’s grace, a gift He gives to everyone, no matter if they’ve done good or bad things, through Jesus Christ.

2. How do you receive grace?

Grace is a gift from God that we can’t earn, but sometimes we don’t get it because we think we’re not that bad, we doubt it can really help us, or we just don’t understand how big it is. Knowing we’ve done wrong and need Jesus to save us changes us, but we also need to watch out for things that can block grace. Thinking that grace means God doesn’t care about right and wrong is wrong. To understand this, we look at the mercy seat in the Old Testament and the similarities between Jonah and Jesus. We learn that to receive grace, we need to admit we’ve sinned, trust that Jesus took our place, and have a spiritual new birth.

3. How do you know the grace of God is in your life?

Jonah’s story tells us that God’s grace can get rid of our biases and negative thinking, and replace them with happiness and courage. To recognize God’s grace, we need to realize that He doesn’t see a difference between good guys and bad guys. When we truly understand this, we stop judging others and start looking at them with hope and kindness. This brings a deep happiness and bravery, because we know that God is the one who saves us.



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