Grace, grace, the sound is sweet; through grace we see the mercy seat
Grace, grace, God’s gift so free, inviting all at Calv’ry’s tree
Grace, grace, no outcast there; God’s table now for all to share
In the list of names given in Matthew we find a few surprises. They are declarations of God’s grace. Two of those names are people who were not Jews. How did they get in there? Grace is how. God had chosen Abraham and given him great promises. The greatest was that his seed would bless the whole world. Salvation was from the Jews, but salvation was not only for the Jews. All the families of earth would be blessed by that Seed. The extension of God’s grace to all mankind through the Jews is found repeatedly in the Old Testament and seen clearly in the genealogy of Christ.
For their overwhelming wickedness and lack of repentance at the preaching of the patriarchs, God had consigned the Canaanite civilization to destruction. Their perversity was not to corrupt God’s people and they had to go. The time for their repentance was past and their judgment day had come. The same thing will be true for the entire unrepentant and unbelieving world at the second advent of Christ. But there was one of these doomed Canaanites who did believe. Her name was Rahab. Here is her simple testimony, “For the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath.” With that statement of faith she was saved from Canaan’s destruction. She married an Israelite man who was in the ancestry of Christ and became the great-great-etc grandmother of Jesus.
Matthew then records another outsider in Jesus’ ancestry. Her name was Ruth. She was of the people of Moab. They were cousins to the Jews, but not close cousins. They were idolaters and had treated the Israelites very badly during the Exodus. There were frequent wars between the nations. Moabites were banned from temple worship for ten generations. But there was Ruth. Ruth had faith. She said, “Your God will be my God.” She was received into Bethlehem, the future birthplace of Christ, and married a faithful Israelite, Boaz, who is a picture of Christ the kinsman Redeemer. She became David’s great grandmother. God in grace both extended her faith and accepted it. That is the great message of Advent. God sent His Son into the world to save the lost.
Grace, grace, beautiful gift, sent by the Father above
Grace, grace, wonderful gift, sent by the Father of Love