Tuesday 12th February
Have you ever been given a present that you really wanted? There is such great joy when we receive it. But have you ever received a present you wanted and you really didn’t deserve it. Well, that is how I explain grace. Receiving something even though we don’t deserve it. However, is this receiving of grace enough to redefine your identity and give you a new sense of purpose in your life or are we still a slave to DOING? What do I mean, well let’s explore it in today’s readings.
So often, when we become Christians, we think that the more we do for God, the more He will love us. This attitude also works in the opposite way too. The more we sin, the more we think God doesn’t love us. If we are honest with ourselves then we all go through this at some point in our walk with Christ. When we are serving in church, or out on mission or evangelising our colleagues at work, we feel great. God must love me. Look at all I am doing for Him. Sadly, there are some who define their salvation by these “works”. ‘Well I’m doing all of this Lord, surely that’s enough to make you love me’. The truth is, is that these attitudes turn you into a YoYo Christian. One minute you are so close to God and feel great, yet the next you feel you are so far from Him. Why? Because your identity is found in what you DO, not in what has been DONE.
Religion so often is an expression of a depraved people, knowing that they are sinful, knowing that there is something greater than themselves and trying to gain the favour of this ‘higher being’ by DOING. The great truth of following Christ is that there is nothing you can do that will make Him love you anymore or any less. Love is the very character of Christ. You cannot earn you way into Heaven or His glorious love but rather it is a free un-deserved gift. Paul in Ephesians 2 says, that God showed His exceeding kindness for us and His un-matched love towards us when He sent Jesus to pay our price. He says that grace is a free gift and it is by this grace that we are saved. Un-deservedly, Jesus paid the debt we could not pay for disobeying God’s Law. It is a gift for a reason. Why? Because we cannot earn it. We will always fall short of God’s Holy standard. That is why Jesus came and did it for us. While we were dead in our sinful state, Jesus rescued and gave us His free gift of salvation making us alive with Him.
Being saved and rescued from our sin and its consequences should not lead us into a complacent and passive lifestyle but it redefines who we are and give us purpose in our lives. We can be comforted and joyful that we received something we didn’t deserve which leads us into serving and working for the One who gave us this gift, Jesus Christ. Works are expressions of God’s inward change in our lives. God, our Creator, made us to serve Him. We are His workmanship; His design and His ‘works’ through us should point to Him who made us.
“For by grace you have been saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves; IT IS THE GIFT OF GOD.” Ephesians 2:8