Saturday, September 13, 2008

It saved a wretch like me

Lately I have realized that I need to be a more graceful person. I need to extend more grace to others and to myself. Especially to myself. I am realizing how my perfectionism is not helping, but hurting me. Philip Yancey defines God's grace as this: "There is nothing I can do to make God love me more, and there is nothing that I can do to make God love me any less."

This is a hard concept for me to grasp emotionally. Grace in the abstract seems good and idealistic, but grace in practice seems stupid. Surely I have to do something for it. I find myself working hard to be good enough for God's grace or berating myself for not being a gracious person. I think that I am missing the point.

The other day while doing my devotions I was reading in Romans trying to understand God's grace more. I know that because of God's grace I have salvation and a relationship with God, but how does grace play out in my daily life. What role does grace have in working out my salvation? I came across Roman 8:1-2: "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death."

Did you read that? There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus! That phrase alone is worth a party to end all celebrations! I don't think that I have ever really understood that. I had always held myself to the standard of perfection as a Christian, and I never reached it. I kept failing. And you know what? In Christ it's ok! There is no condemnation for my short comings. God does not keep punishing me because I am not God. There are consequences for my sin and God teaches me to live more like him, but I am not condemned because I am not perfect. I don't have to carry around the guilt of my imperfections and sin. I AM NOT CONDEMNED IN CHRIST JESUS.

Do you know how freeing that is? I can enjoy life because all I have to do is try my best to be obedient to Christ. Once I confess my sin and turn from it I can move on. God does not require me to grovel and pay penitence for my sins.

We serve an amazingly good and gracious God. How can you not love Him?

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