Thursday, January 17, 2013

Ahhh-mazing Grace

 As Christians we all seem to think we have a handle on grace but very seldom live like we do. I have been on a journey these past two years and though I know I am just barely grazing the surface, I wanted to gush about what I’ve come to realize.

During this process, first I decided that I really had to tame my ego and humble myself—nothing I do can merit God’s grace, his love, his favor, or forgiveness. If I could earn it with good works and obedience, doesn't that belittle what Christ did on the cross? It is His righteousness that saves us… it really has nothing to do with me or how holy I am. How many commandments I can follow and how sinless I can be. 

The Bible very clearly states that we ALL fall short, and yet His love is greater than our sin. Pretty awesome right?

So the big debate on this is if we run wild with this idea of grace, what is to keep us from embracing sin and lawlessness… after all, he’ll forgive us. It seems like grace would give us a free pass to sin, but in fact, if you can grasp what that grace really means, it’s quite the opposite.

For example, because I grew up in the church and was saved very young, I didn’t really have those dark, wild years as a teen. My testimony isn’t a tale of great transformation, it is a love story about God’s faithfulness.

And my obedience wasn’t rooted in fear of the consequences. Let me explain…

I remember this one conversation I had with my dad. He told me, kind of out of the blue, that if I ever found myself out somewhere, drunk or otherwise compromised, that all I needed to do was call him—no questions, no repercussions—he would come get me and bring me home.

I have one heck of a good daddy! While to some this might seem irresponsible, but in truth it meant that . . . he knew me. Knew that though I wasn't the type to cause trouble, I wasn't above temptation.

None of us are.

This security, this grace that he showed me didn't inspire me to recklessness, it overwhelmed me with love. It told me that he cared more about my safety than the rules or his expectations.

True grace inspires us to obedience.

Never once did I have to call in that favor from my dad—not that I was any thing close to perfect. But I respected and loved my daddy enough that I didn't want to disappoint him.

How much more does God want to shower us with his grace to show us his love?

We're missing the boat when we focus solely on our conduct, because let’s face it—we are gonna screw up.  Probably daily. But following Christ isn't about the rules, our sin, and facing the condemnation for our failures.

And I’m not implying that there is no discipline. As a parent I am learning when my two little handfuls of insanity need a firm hand and when they need a big hug.

It’s just simply… no matter how much junk we just waded through, no matter how deep or numerous the stains, he still throws his arms around us, calls us pure and blameless. You see it isn't about my sin, it’s about HIS LOVE!

It is both a liberating and impossible concept to fully grasp.

If you reduce Christianity to a moral code, you are totally missing the point! His love isn't conditional. Let go of that bondage and get free! 

Talk to me: What have you been taught about grace? Do you feel like it is dangerous to embrace that level of freedom? And do you find it hard to not measure your faith based on how well you control your sin?