Finding Grace

I haven’t blogged much lately.  My kids were on spring break last week and this previous week I’ve felt honestly like I was doing more stumbling than following after Jesus.  So, amidst the feelings of unworthiness and self-condemnation I felt God leading me back to grace.

The very definition of grace is un-merited favor.

The image I got was like this- imagine you are a young dumb kid and your dad borrowed you the family car.  Through a stream of bad decisions and coincidence the car ends up wrapped around a tree and you end up in a cell.  You know you need to call your dad.  He is probably worried sick and you need someone to bail you out.  Your dad seems calm on the phone but you dread the drive home.  You walk out of the cell with your stomach in knots.  But as soon as you see your dad he quickly embraces you.  “We’ll talk about this tomorrow son, but for now I am just glad that you are alright.  I love you.”

Every day we are that kid in some way.  It may be our offense is a parking ticket or a full-on felony.  We need rescue.  We need ‘bail-money’.  We need grace.

Perhaps the biggest trap for heartfelt Christians is the performance track.  We desperately love God and want to please him and somewhere along the line we get hyper focused on our performance, the ‘do’ and start to lose our way.

“You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” Galatians 3:4

There is something scary and vulnerable about resting in the saving grace provided at the cross.  Virtually all religion is man’s solution to the sin problem, trying to get good through works.  The Gospel is radically different.  It is more of a resting, a trusting, a following… if you are feeling more ‘driven’ than ‘led’ or hopeless at your inability to be a ‘good’ Christian, you may have gotten on a performance track and left grace behind.

Just resting in grace doesn’t feel right to our flesh.  We want to add our good works to the mix.  Our best righteousness.  In reality it is like tossing mud into a pristine pool.  We either end up with a Pharisee mindset or feeling like a lesser-than worm of a Christian.  Neither is healthy.

Grace keeps pride at bay and joy high.  When we realize we aren’t saving no-body- let alone our own sorry necks; and that Heaven is going to be FULL of people who don’t deserve to be there….we can all breathe a huge sigh of relief.  God saves us.  Period.  At our best.  At our worst.  Every day.  His love and grace conquers the huge gap between perfect him and hopelessly sinful us.  Even if we could inch and scoot closer we would still be infinitely far; light years, from the holiness of God.  It was so hopeless only a miracle could be done.  And it was.  20150411_145654

I know, as a deeply flawed human being- some days there will be more stumbling than overcoming.  Some days I’ll need more than my fair share of grace and forgiveness.  It is difficult to wrap our minds around the Gospel fact that ‘where sin increased, grace abounded all the more…’ (Romans 5:20)

The love of God doesn’t just rescue us once, at salvation.  No, it rescues us day in and day out every day of our lives.  It is that loving Father, showing up at the jail, bail money in hand.

That kind of love captures our human hearts like nothing else.  Grace changes us like nothing else.

“I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” Galatians 2:21

My prayer, for myself and everyone reading this- that we would let the love and grace of God wash over us afresh.  In the face of hardships and our personal failures, he loves us…with an everlasting love.  He is our Father and he will never leave nor forsake us.

Advertisements

7 thoughts on “Finding Grace

  1. I’ve been thinking a lot about this post. I know a lot of people struggle with falling into the pit of trying to earn their salvation. While I might at times wonder if I ever was saved, mainly given my thought life, I never equate anything I am able to do with gaining salvation. So I imagined a line across a sheet of paper. Below the line is my salvation. I think of the scriptures that say that my salvation is a gift from God… along with my favorite, “so that no man may boast”. Or it is not of works but by faith. There are plenty of passages that point to the fact that I cannot earn salvation.

    But above that line are all the scriptures that point to our life in Christ. There I put verses like, if you love me you will follow my commandments. Notice it does not say if you are to be saved you will keep my commandments. THere are also the comparatives lives Paul illuminates with two lists, the one is the life lived according to the flesh, and the other is the life lived according to the Spirit. One is a life steeped in sin, embracing sin, and living according to it, while the other is a life by the Spirit. And there is the passage in James which, at first glance, may seem to contradict Paul’s words, “you are not saved by works but by faith” by saying, “faith without works is dead.” In my mind these two scriptures simply speak to us from the perspective of the different sides of this line.

    One of the most comforting things I can think of, when I begin to wonder if I’m saved, is the comparison between the me before salvation and the me after. The difference really is as disparate as Paul’s two lists in Galatians. Even when I am in a Spiritual low I do not in my heart desire to go back to the life I lived before. I could not have brought about such a change myself, only God could have done it, and if he did it, then I can’t undo it. I still ask God to help me to have an evermore renewed mind, and to empower me to live according to the Spirit. But for some reason, I never associate my desire to live better with earning salvation. The salvation is done, but my sanctification is not done. And I do hope to grow, to become more Godly, and to reflect God’s glory to this dying world. I might write a letter on this. Any thoughts?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Danny, I too feel pretty solid in that I don’t question my salvation. I suppose it is that I am vulnerable to attacks from the enemy of feeling massively condemned and guilty over things I have been forgiven of. Or when I do mess up and I feel like I should know better by now I question all the spiritual progress I have made and feel like a giant fraud. Early on as a new believer I was feeling really tormented in questioning whether I was genuinely saved. I was lying in bed and a nervous wreck when I heard God very clearly speak to my spirit that my name was written in the Lambs Book of Life. End of story. I think on of the enemy’s main tricks is to get us drawn away from a grace and spirit-filled life into striving (and failing) in our own flesh and getting further and further from God. When the irony we can’t change ourselves, only surrendering to God and his power working in our lives. But I agree, I am a radically different person than I was 10 years ago. God’s grace. Even the desire to want to please God and walk in his ways is a gift by grace. Cause our human nature is hostile towards God. Just very mind-boggling. Grace is also very humbling. You see women that were former demon-possessed prostitutes in the inner circle of Christ’s ministry because they had been so transformed by the free gift of grace. It really turns our Pharisee-esque concepts of righteousness on it’s head. I think often of the fine line between grace and truth and grace and works, you should write on that. 🙂 and the practical application for believers.

    Like

    • Hmmm, WordPress normally alerts me to responses, but it didn’t. So I’m just now reading your replyt. I was actually attempting to write that post and came back to remind myself of what I said. Very short memory.

      Similar story. I was lying on my bed once and was at the verge of terror. I was asking myself, what if I got it wrong. What if I didn’t believe this one little thing, or know this one little thing. What if I actually am going to hear, “away from me you worker of iniquity, I never knew you.” Then I began to image myself before the judgement seat, before God. It was a very real feeling experience. And I can remember my thoughts saying, “If Jesus did not die for me, I have nothing to offer”. It was at that moment that I realized that is exactly the Gospel. I won’t ever get it right. I will never make the right choices other than what Jesus in me makes in my stead. It brought me to tears cause I realized that it is my being in HIm that matters, and nothing else.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s