Wednesday, January 21, 2009


I've been thinking alot lately about how I truly don't fully understand or comprehend the gift of grace. And, I'd be willing to wager that I'm not alone.

Grace means that the price for my sin has already been paid, and try as I might, there is literally nothing I can or could ever do to earn my salvation.

Yet, I still try. I try to say the right things. I try to do the right things. I try to think the right things. But, there's always that voice telling me, "you don't deserve this- you need to prove you're worthy", aka earn my way to heaven. Well best of luck Julie, because I'm right- I, in no way, deserve God's grace. Nor will I ever be deserving of it. Today, I was reminded of this scripture:

"But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

Romans 5:8

"While we were still sinners."

God didn't wait for us to 'measure up' or become deserving before He saved us. It was in the midst of our messiness, in the midst of our brokenness...that's when He chose to save us.

Not only did He reconcile Himself to us while we were still sinners, but He reconciled Himself to us in the most sacrificial way possible. He sent Himself to dwell among us- to suffer through pain, heartache, betrayl, hardship and degradation. Then He paid the ultimate price in dying a horrific death on the cross.

For us.

Not only for you and me, but he died for the people who caused him pain, who put him through heartache, who betrayed and humiliated Him. For the people who nailed Him to the cross. I don't know about you, but if someone degrades me, my first response is not one of love and it's certainly not one of being willing to die for that person. But, thankfully for us, Jesus was willing. Wow- He must not only like us on occassion, but He must really love us with a love that can never be understood by a human being.

Why, then, do I have such struggles? Why do I think God has given up on me- not because He's unloving, but because I'm so unworthy of His love. I mess up on a daily, if not hourly, basis. I mean, really...exactly how many times can I expect God to forgive me? How many times can I count on Him to extend grace to me?

I can't help but know, in my heart, that God's response to that question would be:

"How many times? Every single time, that's how many times."

I like the analogy I've heard at church several times of imagining grace as a gift under the Christmas tree. Imagine it was your gift to your child. You'd sacrificed your time and energy to pick out the perfect gift for them and couldn't wait for them to open it up. But, then they open it and get a forelorned look on their face, immediately hand the gift back over to you and say, "I don't deserve this- take it back". I would imagine you would be a little disappointed and upset at their reaction, and perhaps irritated. Now, picture that your child opens the gift, breaks into a huge smile, jumps into your arms, thanks you over and over and immediately begins to play with the toy. Wouldn't that reaction be better received? Wouldn't you be thrilled and filled with joy? I'm sure so. Don't you think God would rather we be the excited child in this story vs. the one who tries to hand the gift back?

I think that you and I (especially) have to just stop trying to figure grace out, because grace is inherently unexplainable and indescribable to begin with. We just need to accept it for the free gift that it is and say 'thank you'.

God's Riches At Christ's Expense


I.H.S. said...

Julie, came by through Church of no people, and read this peace on grace. I have to say as a pastor, if you were one of the congregates in my church, I would be breathing a big sigh of relief to know for sure that someone really gets it.

Great job and by all means keep up the good work. I'll be dropping by from time to time, hope you don't mind.