Reading Acts chapter 7 this morning and thinking about what seeing grace operate in human history does to a person.
Stephen had just spent several minutes talking about human history spanning from Abraham to the present day (Acts 7:2-53). He was full of God's Spirit and full of the big picture of God's dealings with people.
"But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. And he said, 'Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.'
But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him. Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul.
And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, 'Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.'
And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, 'Lord, do not hold this sin against them.'
And when he had said this, he fell asleep." - Acts 7:55-60 ESV
Stephen had great grace. He saw grace in history and he saw grace standing for Him at God's right hand and because he had grace he also gave grace to those stoning him.
'Hold this sin against them.' or in the KJV 'Lay not this sin to their charge.'
He had his mind set on a future history beyond his time since his time on Earth was coming to a close. He just recounted a brief history of Israel and his prayer was for an interruption of the pattern of rebellion for the owners of the stones that struck him.
Grace does that. It produces in us a greater freedom based in forgiveness and a great desire to see cycles broken and guilty people free from a history of guilt and future punishment.
God, It seems our minds can only hold so much. Help us to see beyond the horizon today. Give us vision to look beyond what people do and see a great salvation and a standing Savior. Make us rich in mercy so we can function like rich people today. Thank you God.