I am always baffled at the concept of grace. My mind is so trained to require perfection; for myself and others. We really don’t see the extension of grace much, and when there is, the feeling of entitlement, that it was deserved typically comes to the forefront… at least it does for me in my sinful heart. I also forget that grace is the CENTER of the gospel. It’s the foundation, the cornerstone, the reason that we’re offered salvation.
Recently I got engaged to the cutest man of all time. He is absolutely adorable, loves the Lord, makes me laugh, means the world to me… and is far from perfect. He has hurt my feelings (visa versa, on everything I will mention. I’ll go ahead and preface that), frustrated me, and disappointed me. But I still love him. I love that boy more than words can ever describe. It isn’t a feeling, it’s not because he is perfect, or because he does everything that I want/think he should do. I have decided to make a commitment to him despite all of these things, because they just don’t matter. He can’t earn any of my love and he can’t take it away… my feelings towards him may change from time to time (anger, joy, etc), but my love for him is unwavering. So what does this have to do with grace?
No human being has ever been perfect (shocker I know). Except for the man who was fully God and fully man. He was perfect so that we DON’T HAVE TO BE, because WE NEVER WILL BE. No one. Ever. Like… ever will be perfect. So that’s where this beauty called grace comes in.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith- and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast. - Ephesians 2:8-9
HELLLLOOO GOSPEL. I read this verse and I think it is one of the most concise, yet richest verses in all of scripture. It describes the gospel so perfectly.
Ok, so God, you’re telling me that it doesn’t matter what I do… I will never do anything to really “impress” you so much to accept me into heaven, but I also can’t mess up my salvation once I get it? I don’t have to start all over again if I lie, cheat… I don’t have to start over trying to earn salvation? Literally, I don’t have to do anything to earn salvation? To earn your love, I do nothing (this ain’t what the world is preachin’ thats for sure)? Lord you must be crazy. If you really knew me, you wouldn’t want me… wait you do? Wow, you really are crazy…. no… HE IS LOVE.
To think that the Lord, the Creator, the Alpha and Omega, the Savior, the infinite, all powerful, almighty God will take me? Loves me? Oh. My. Word. I can’t even begin to express the gratitude and joy that I have in my heart when I think about this. I even think about how my fiance (eeeeek #girlmoment) could even love me?! Bless him, bless that poor man’s soul! But that’s the only way that we really can love each other… is through grace. If we are constantly concerned about what the other does in order to earn our love, they will never, NEEEVVA, come close. And if God was concerned with what we could/could not do for Him, in order for Him to love us… well homeskillet, we are shoot outta luck.
Isaiah 6 describes the prophet Isaiah’s reaction as he encounters the Lord, and it’s purely epic. You would think that Isaiah’s first reaction would be to start clapping, worshiping, or just celebrating the fact that He is in the presence of God in the temple… but NO. What does he do? He immediately falls to his knees and begins to cry out as to how unworthy he is! And what does God do? Atones for his sin. Forgets it. Forgives it. Gives him grace. LOVES him, with the only true love their is. God’s love and through grace.
It’s easy to see that Isaiah understood. He understood that his wretched heart deserved hell. But God had offered him freedom. God had extended His almighty hand and offered up the gift of salvation by His grace. Lord I pray I get it someday. I pray that I soak of the grace that you have to offer. That we extend the grace to others, and when we receive it we turn our hearts to gratitude and flee from self righteousness. Teach us to abide in that grace. To live in it. To absolutely DROWN in that grace, so that the only we can live is through You.
You know… John Newton had it right when he wrote one of the most famous hymns of all time. It really is Amazing Grace. It is sweet. It has truly saved a wretch like me. I have been set free.
“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” 1 Peter 5:10