I have been thinking about the idea of grace more than usual. We discussed deeply in our Women’s Bible study the other night and I have also been thinking about in in regards to our everyday life (more here later). So, thankfully, I am breaking the silence and beginning a three part series on grace.
I think as Christians, we see grace as something that covers our sins – which it is – but we don’t see beyond that. We take it for face value and don’t really question it or think about what grace entails.
Because when you question grace, you have to take a hard look in the mirror. You have to have hard conversations – even if they are just with yourself – or you might have to excuse the flaws of others.
All. Hard. Things.
And well, this mini-series I have going here on grace isn’t’ going to be easy. It won’t be easy to write and it won’t be easy to read. But it is necessary. I am missing out on a huge blessing because I don’t want to take a hard look at grace in my life…and I bet, I am not the only one.
So let’s jump right in.
We don’t fully recognize what we were saved from.
The first reason we don’t fully grasp grace is because we don’t recognize what the cross, and the grace that came with it, saved us from.
Think about it. If I were to ask you, what did salvation deliver you from? What is grace protecting you from? What would you say? Hell? Sin? The world?
All perfectly good church answers. And I agree, God’s grace keeps us out of hell. But do you know what really puts us in hell in the first place? Sure, our sin has something to do with it, but what really puts us in hell is God, Himself.
You see, I think we often unintentionally just think of God and His grace as saving us from this world and from hell. But it is so much more than that. God isn’t just protecting us from the bad things here on earth or from an eternity of fire.
God is protecting us from himself. Hebrews 10:31 says It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God. And David Platt, in one of his Bible studies explains, “What we have been saved from by God’s grace is God himself.”
God is a just, holy God. He has to hate sin. If He was soft on sin, how would He really be different than any of us? And it is that strong hatred towards sin that we need to be saved from. If God gave us what we deserved, according to our sin and His hatred, we would all be in hell. Revelation tells us we will be thrown into the lake of fire.
I don’t think we stop and let that sink in. I don’t think we realize just how bad off we are without God. I think we soften the blow because it hurts too bad to realize just how filthy we are in God’s eyes.
We fail to recognize what grace gives us.
BUT – Just like we don’t realize what we were saved from, we fail to recognize what we have.
Yes, we were saved from God, himself. A just God, unafraid to show his wrath. We were, however, saved from Him so that we could be with Him. We were saved from His wrath, covered in grace, so that we could abide in His love.
A devotion from Desiring God reminded me of this, “God’s wrath is love in action against sin.” He loves us and did not want to punish us in ways that we deserved because of our sin. That is why He gave us grace, through the cross. He knew what His wrath would do to us and He wanted to save us from that pain, no matter how much we deserved it.
But when God gave us grace, the grace to cover all our sins, it included so much more…
God gave us love like nothing we have on this earth.
God gave us the ability to have peace in eternity and contentment while still in this world.
God gave us the freedom to love others with the same abandon He loves us.
God gave us gifts to turn around and use to serve and praise Him.
God gave us the beauty of marriage and parenting to give us just a little taste of what our heavenly relationship with Him will be like.
God gave us the beauty of nature as just a cloudy reflection of what heaven will be like.
God gave us the freedom to see, not only ourselves, but others through His eyes.
His grace gave us the lens in which we can see ourselves in His image, a way in which we can see Him – in us.
This list could go on and on, and still many times we take it for granted. We focus on all we don’t have and totally ignore the fact that we have the greatest gift we could ever ask for. And can I remind you – I used the word gift. We did nothing to earn this.
If we really, really realized what we have in God’s grace, everything would be different.
Since we fail in realizing the horror we were saved from and fail in realizing just what grace has done and will do in our lives, we also fail to see the severity of sin.
We don’t hate sin enough.
I mean think about it, how many times do you find entertainment through sin?
In one of my father’s messages, he said “We are often entertained by what put Jesus on the cross.”
Did you get that? Sin. We are entertained by it. Think of your favorite television shows. Think of the last book you read. Think your latest playlist. Are these things you would recommend to Jesus?
If we are made in God’s image, that means we should hate sin the way he does. But if our downtime is filled with sin entertainment, there is no way we can say we hate sin.
It’s the exact opposite. We accept sin in our lives. We think it is something we just have to put up with, as Christians. We think it is something we can’t control, and hey, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.
I could go on and on right here because I feel this is a huge problem in the church, but I won’t. That’s not the point.
The point is, as long as we downplay sin, we can never truly appreciate the value of grace.
I am not trying to say you can never watch television. I have a few shows I love to watch (and if you know me very well, you know I love Gilmore Girls), but we cannot find constant entertainment and acceptance in sin and think we can still walk closely with Jesus or grow in Him.
And if this is something you suddenly feel convicted about, just increase the time you spend with Jesus. The more you talk to him, the less appealing the sinful things will appear, I promise. That is exactly how it happened with me. There are songs and shows I used to love that I will not longer bother with. It’s just not the same when I really know Jesus and His grace.
I know this is not one of those happy messages. I know you may not walk away from reading this with warm fuzzies. But to grow, we have to push the limits some and, as a body of believers, we need some serious growth in the area of grace.
I promise the next two posts in this series will be more lighter in nature, but I pray these words made a mark on your soul and will send you to the Word (my sole purpose).
Thankfully we were saved from God, Himself, given the priceless gift of grace, so that we wouldn’t have to find pleasure in sin. And when we remember and focus on that, then things will change.