The Grace of God in motherhood

Matthew 1:5 must be one of the most grace-filled verses in all of Scripture:

and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab,
and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth,
and Obed the father of Jesse,

Rahab the harlot, citizen of Jericho: a woman living a condemned lifestyle in a condemned city.

Ruth, the Moabite. Living under the Law of Moses, “No Ammonite or Moabite may enter the assembly of the LORD. Even to the tenth generation, none of them may enter the assembly of the LORD forever” (Deut. 23:3).

Yet both women are mothers of the Messiah. Two cursed Gentile women are forever linked to the redemption of mankind. What grace God demonstrates to his people! The first promise of the redeemer was that he would be the seed of the woman. The birth of Jesus to a Virgin is not the only aspect of the fulfillment of that prophecy. Rahab the harlot and Ruth the Moabite are included as well.

The grace of God in Christ not only redeems humanity, it redeems motherhood. God’s grace exceeds our sinfulness; it is greater than our ancestry. Mothers as sinful as Rahab; mothers as hopeless and cast off as Ruth; are welcomed into God’s family. They are forgiven. They are accepted. They are graced.

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The Love of God and the Cross of Christ

It cannot be emphasized too strongly that God’s love is the source, not the consequence of the atonement. As P.T. Forsyth expressed it, ‘the atonement did not procure grace, it flowed from grace.’ God does not love us because Christ died for us; Christ died for us because God loved us. If it is God’s wrath which needed to be propitiated, it is God’s love which did the propitiating.
(John Stott, The Cross of Christ, p. 174)