Perhaps one of the most misunderstood concepts of people in the world today when it comes to their Christianity or their spiritual life involves the subject of the Grace of God. God’s grace is a wonderful thing. The word grace simply means unmerited favor. The grace of God is something that we as individuals do not deserve, and it is something we cannot earn. There is nothing that we could ever do in and of ourselves that would make us worthy of God’s love, His forgiveness, and His Grace. If it were possible for us to earn God’s Grace based on “good behavior”, or the fact that we are a good hearted person, God sending his Son to die on a cruel rugged cross to be the once and for all atonement for our sins would have been unnecessary.
I love the words of an old song that used to be sung in a church I attended as a kid. The words of the song were, “He paid a debt He did not owe, I owed a debt I could not pay, I needed someone to wash my sins away. Now I sing a brand new song …Amazing Grace. Christ Jesus paid a debt that I could never pay.” How true the words of that old song are! The price that was necessary to purchase our salvation, and bring us back to a place that we could have a right standing with God, was a price that no man could ever pay. Because of this, God sent his son Jesus to die for us, that through Him, we might live. Christ has removed our death sentence. In the Bible, in Romans 6:23 it says, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Notice in that scripture it uses the word GIFT. God’s grace, eternal life, and forgiveness are gifts that can’t be earned. If it was something that we could earn through our own works, we could PURCHASE our salvation, then it would not be a gift. Eternal life IS a gift, and it was purchased for us through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross!
When you consider the fact that there is nothing that we could ever do to make ourselves worthy to obtain the mercy and grace of God, it makes it very plain to see how futile the efforts of modern day religions are. Religion never has, and never will bring anyone into a right standing with God! Now for those of you who do not understand what I am saying, I can hear you now asking yourself, “What on earth is he talking about? Is he suggesting that religion is worthless?” The answer to that question would be YES! Allow me to explain. Back in the days that Jesus walked the earth, the Jewish Pharisees were among the most “religious” people of their day. They knew the Jewish law forwards and backwards. They would often be seen praying in the streets, and went to great lengths to show how religious they were; yet look at what Jesus told the Pharisees. In Matthew 23:27 ( New Living Translation) Jesus told the Pharisees, “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs–beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity.” Even though it looked like the Pharisees were Godly people on the outside, they were some of the most hateful and bitter men of their day. They were depending on an enormous amount of rules and Jewish laws to make them conform themselves to a degree that would be acceptable to God. What the Pharisees never understood was that no amount of good deeds or works they did could ever make them good enough. Ephesians 2:8-9 in the Bible says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.” (New Living Translation)
Modern day religions attempt to do the same thing. I grew up in a religion that was so full of rules regarding what was and was not acceptable for a Christian, that it left people feeling like they were in a prison. The religion I was raised in as a kid was full of rules and regulations that tried to force people to conform to a mold that seemed to be what a Christian should be. The Jewish Law that the Pharisees tried to live up to attempted to do the same thing, with no success. You see, a successful Christian life has NEVER been about living up to a set of rules. You can go to church every day of your life, and never be a Christian. Someone once said that sitting in church every Sunday doesn’t make you a Christian any more than sitting in your garage makes you a car. As humorous as that may be, it is very true. We simply have to accept the free gift of God’s grace, and establish a personal relationship with Him. There is no other way to become right with God than that.
The good news is, that because nothing you could ever do on your own would be good enough to bring you into a right standing with God, nothing you have ever done, regardless of how bad it was, can ever prevent you from turning your life around! That should be encouraging to us all! We are ALL messed up, broken people. We all have skeletons in our closets, and all have a checkered past. That’s why we ALL need a Savior, and we have that in Christ. Quit trying to do it on your own. You’ll never succeed if you’re trying to be good enough. Simply accept God’s free gift of grace. The price for it has already been paid.
Thanks for reading!
Until next time,