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September 19, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace.”—Hebrews 11:31 (NKJV)
How far can God’s grace reach? Deep down we all want to know the answer to this question, because deep down we all know we need it. And knowing this, we also know that we never want to find ourselves on the “outside looking in” at the grace of God.
So, how far can God’s grace reach? The answer is simply this: There is no earthly distance that God’s grace cannot span. There’s no person, place, or predicament beyond its reach. Nothing you have ever done or ever will do can put you out of range or utterly disqualify you from the grace of God. Nobody ever has to be on the outside looking in!
If that simply sounds like a generic statement that Christians have been conditioned to mindlessly mouth, I’ve got news for you. This truth has teeth! It’s a reality as real as flesh and blood, and an actual example stands before us in the flesh as we come to the next link in Christ’s genealogy . . . Rahab.
We’re first introduced to Rahab in the opening chapters of the Book of Joshua. You may recall that this particular book covers the transition of Israel from wandering in the wilderness to possessing the Promised Land. It’s a pivotal book, to say the least. And as it turns out, Rahab proves to be a pivotal player in God’s work on His people’s behalf.
There’s something else we need to know; however, when it comes to this woman—and there’s no way to sugar-coat it—she was a prostitute. Not only that, but she was a Canaanite prostitute. Meaning, she was part of the pagan society that God was about to judge through Israel’s conquest of Canaan.
In the natural sense, Rahab was as unlikely a candidate to receive, much less reflect, God’s grace than you could come up with. Right now, in your mind, imagine that person who seems to be the polar opposite of godliness. That’s Rahab!
However, that didn’t stop the Lord from showering His grace upon her. She was saved from destruction by placing her faith in what she perceived God doing through the nation of Israel. Her trust wasn’t in the walls of her city, Jericho, but in the working of God. Divine grace reached out in the most improbable direction, to a prostitute, rescued her, and gave her a place in the paradise of the Promised Land.
Amazing, isn’t it? Yet it doesn’t end there. Not only was this woman spared from physical destruction, but in an unprecedented demonstration of His grace, God wove Rahab’s life into the fabric of Jesus’ genealogy!
In the Jewish mind, pedigree counts for everything. The more noble your ancestors, the greater the glory cast on you. But in the case of Jesus, the friend of sinners, we see Rahab written into the drama of redemption and salvation. It’s so astounding that we probably wouldn’t believe it if it wasn’t spelled out for us in Scripture: “Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab . . .” (Matthew 1:5 NKJV).
God could have chosen anyone from anywhere to factor into the Savior’s lineage. Yet He chose, in His great grace, someone whose life was defined by sin and shame. That’s not an accident, is it? Nothing He does ever is! God chose Rahab because He wanted to remind all humanity that nobody is beyond the reach of His grace, and that Christ came to identify with sinners—people like Rahab; people like us.
Remember this when you’re tempted to think you’re beyond the reach of God’s gracious touch. Consider Rahab’s inclusion into the greatest story ever told. Rest assured that her place in Christ’s lineage reveals that you’ll never have to be on the outside looking in at the glorious grace of God!
Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.