What’s your story? Part 3

What's your story?
Part 3: Grace

Grace

I always felt like something was wrong…

What’s your story? I always felt like something was wrong with church. I thought, maybe, it was the architecture or the music. It took me until I was almost 30 years old to realize it was much more fundamental than that.

How can I make God happy?

In the midst of all the love I had been shown and the Jesus I had come to know, I hadn’t really wrapped my head around what God did for us. I’m not sure what I had been taught, but what I had heard was a familiar message: God loves you, but he loves you a whole lot more when you obey him better. Sometime after I finished my master’s degree at seminary, I started putting the pieces together. I knew Jesus had received the punishment for the sins of everyone who would trust in him, but I had always heard Christians talk like after you trust in him, you better not mess it up. Wait! If I couldn’t earn my salvation because I was sinful, how can I make him happy now? I’m still not getting it right!

So, what has God really done for us? What little bit of good can I do to make God like me when I fall so short? And, if God loves me even when I mess up, who am I to judge others when they do?

I can’t feel superior anymore…

So, I guess I can’t feel superior anymore. But, what I can feel is loved because Jesus received all the punishment for all the sin of everyone who believes. When God looks at me, he doesn’t see my sin, he sees Jesus’ righteousness. And, the work was completed 2000 years ago when Jesus told us from the cross, “It is finished” (John 19:30), so I am no less forgiven for the sin I will commit tomorrow than the sin I committed before I trusted in Christ. All the wrath of God was poured out for that sin on the day Jesus died, and it will never be held against me. Ever. And God freely gave me that forgiveness because there was nothing I could ever do to earn it. Just because decided to.

That’s what grace is. That’s what church used to be missing for me. Now, every time I read the Bible, I read about a God who loves people so much he offers them forgiveness. He restores them. This is the message I can’t wait to tell: If you trust in Jesus’ death and resurrection, you will be forgiven and declared righteous. You will have a place in his resurrection. And, your sin will never be held against you. You will have a place in God’s family. You will come to know God as your Heavenly Father by knowing Jesus through the words of the Bible. This grace is worth sharing.

To the ends of the earth… coming soon.

What about your story?

How has grace shaped your story?

Have you found grace, or are you still trying to make God like you?

How has grace changed the way you think about the way God thinks of you and the way you think of others?

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