Understanding Grace (PDF)
Finding God and experiencing His grace was never meant to be this endless scavenger hunt or massive jigsaw puzzle where you hope you get all the pieces in the right place. But with all the different religions and philosophies, a lot of people are confused. But God expressed himself and clarified his grace in a way we could understand by becoming a man through his Son Jesus.
The Bible says that God has placed eternity in our heart. We have this eternal homing device that reminds us there’s something more to life. We were created to experience a life that is full of purpose and adventure, but we can’t – not without God’s grace. The life we long for is in His Son Jesus. The Bible talks about those who have the Son as those who have life, and those who don’t as those who don’t have life. So, if you don’t have life that would make you dead. We can all feel that death on some level.
It’s easy to identify someone who is physically dead because dead people act dead. They don’t sing or dance or eat or enjoy life at all because they are dead! But identifying someone who is spiritually dead is not that easy. There are a lot of religious life support systems and moral life support systems that make them look like they are alive, but they’re not. They don’t have the kind of life that they were created to live.
Religion without a relationship with God is hollow and meaningless. It’s frustrating because you never know if you’ve done enough or been good enough to please God. You’re always looking over your shoulder. That’s no way to live. It really isn’t life at all.
Our nature is to think, “I’m not so bad.” You can always find someone who is worse than you and think, “At least I’m not that bad.” But God doesn’t compare one human being with another and grade on the curve. God compares all of humanity with himself and we all come up short. Romans 3:23 (NIV) says “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” That word “sin” means “missing the mark.” Even the best, most religious or moral person misses the mark.
That’s where the death we experience comes from. Romans 6:23 (NIV) says, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Our sin is so serious, so severe, so grotesque that something dras?c had to be done to fix it. It would be hopeless if it were left up to us because there is nothing we could ever do to make it right. Hebrews 9:22 (NIV) says “ … without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness.” Our blood, sweat and tears are not enough. That’s where God’s grace and the sacrifice of his Son Jesus changes everything.
The very bad news is we all come up short. We all sin or miss the mark and because of that there is death, and without the shedding of blood, it’s hopeless. But the very good news is this – Romans 5:8-‐9 (NASB) says: “But God demonstrates His own love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.”
Matt Chandler explains Romans 5:8-‐9 this way. He says: “The word justfied means that you and I stand before God acceptable, spotless, pure, and without sin. God looks at us and says ‘There is no sin in that man! There is no sin in that woman!’ All that blasphemy that we’ve done by choosing stuff over God; All the blasphemy that we’ve lived in by saying, ‘My way is better than God’s.’ All the blatant sin of saying, ‘Creation is better than God’ is REMOVED and God sees us as just.
‘Much more then, having now been justfied by his blood.’ This is GREAT NEWS! There’s nothing about your effort in that text at all. Nothing about your might, your religious stamina, your morality, your cleaning yourself up. You have been justified by an act of God!
BOTTOM LINE: You have not earned right standing in front of God by your effort or your cleaning up of your life. We have been made pure, standing blameless in front of God, not because of any kind of religious or moral pursuit, but because Christ died, and in His death He absorbed all of God’s wrath for you and I. And that’s why the Bible says that for the Children of God, we are not appointed to suffer wrath. Because the wrath bestowed upon you and I was absorbed by Christ’s death.”
NOW THAT’S GRACE!! All we have to do is receive it. To humble ourselves and place our faith in what Christ has done for us. If you don’t think you have enough faith, you’re missing the point. We’re not saved by our faith. We’re saved by GRACE – God’s grace – through our faith. His death for our sin, and his resurrecKon for the life we were designed to experience.
How do you receive it? Just pray and tell God what you’re thinking – what you want to do. Accept responsibility for your sin. Own it and confess it to him. Ask his forgiveness and humbly put your trust in what Jesus did for you – His death for YOUR sin. Then ask God to help you live like you mean it. You won’t be perfect, but by God’s grace you will see a measurable difference because, as the scriptures say …
“He who has the Son has life!” 1 John 5:12, NIV