Psalm 143:8

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.
Psalm 143:8

Monday, October 3, 2011

Gift of Grace...no line drawn...

God's grace.  What is it?  It's a gift.  A gift...nothing you earn, nothing you are "worthy" of, nothing you can ever repay in any way.  God holds out this gift to each one of us - it is ours to accept, or reject.  It is for everyone, all sinners.  No matter how "good" you are or how "bad" you are.  No matter how many sins you have committed or will yet commit.  You can't bargain for it, do good works for it.  It is a gift.  Will you accept it?

A friend recently asked me if God won't draw a line at some point in your life because you have sinned too much.  It is God's desire that all be saved.  ALL.  Not just the good people - and really, "good" people sin, too, let's be honest!  It is God's desire that we all come to a life eternal with Him.  He is not going to take a look at your life and say, "Well, on this day 15 years ago, you committed your 2,194,763rd sin...so off to hell you go!"  No way.  He just won't do that.

And how do we know this?  Let's take a look at Matthew chapter 18 where Peter asks Jesus about forgiveness.  "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me?  Up to seven times?"  Peter thinks he is being generous with seven times...according to the law at the time it was prescribed to forgive three times.  Seven is better than three!  But Jesus tells him "not seven times, but seventy-seven times."  What Jesus means is that you just keep forgiving...and if he wants us as humans to just keep forgiving...then won't he do so even more?  Won't God keep forgiving us because His love for us is so great?  Yes. 

Peter even denied Christ - three times! Disowned Him.  But did Jesus hold that against him?  No.  He spent time with Peter later, asking Peter three times "Do you love me?"  Each time Peter answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you."  Jesus reinstated him, gave him work to do, and said "Follow me."  (John 21:15-19)

The thief on the cross....a sinner to the point of execution.  Yet, as they hung there together, the thief acknowledges Jesus as he realizes WHO He truly is....and Jesus tells him "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise."  Really?  A sinner who was at death's door?  And yet, no line drawn...Jesus knew this man's heart...He knew this man's sins...and he was accepted into paradise even at the last moment.

God loves us - wholly and unconditionally.  When we seek forgiveness, when we repent and turn from our sins, when we live our lives for Him...He will forgive.  He will not draw a line and forsake us.  He will take us to Himself in heaven.

Now this is not to say that we should be willfully going about sinning!  We should be living our lives for Him.  He knows our nature, our tendencies.  He knows we are not perfect.  And thankfully, He is NOT going to give up on us, even if we give up on ourselves.  We may say "There's no way I'm going to heaven...so I will just have to resign myself to going to hell because I've been so bad God will never accept me."  But that's just wrong.  He will accept us because Jesus Christ being fully God and fully human came to this earth, lived a human life (albeit a perfect one), and died a human death...for us.  FOR US! And then, three days later, He rose again in power over death. So that if we believe in HIM, we will be saved!  If we live our life for HIM, He will not deny us.  If we ask forgiveness for the sins we have committed...He will give it.  There are no boundaries to His love.  There are no boundaries to His forgiveness...it is deeper than the deepest oceans, as far as the east is from the west, greater than anything we can imagine in our fragile human minds.

“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” ~Rom 8:1

So won't you reach out and accept that gift of grace?  He's holding it out in nail-scarred hands...waiting for you to take it, even as He prepares a place for you in heaven.  Grace.

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