Sunday, January 17, 2010

It's Over!

Slam! The sound of twisting metal as a distracted driver crashes into the rear of my car. Stunned by the shooting pain in my back, I slowly unfasten my seat belt and wait for help. The driver of the car in the rear motions for me to open the window saying, "Forgive me, it was my fault - I was wrong."

This week your Kingdom Bloggers are going to write about grace. Be sure to comment, it is a great encouragement for the effort they put into sharing their heart in this sometimes lonely blogosphere. And if you wouldn't mind, share your favorite posts on Facebook, Tweet it or send it around in an email. We'd appreciate it. Thanks for reading along.

Isn't it amazing, I get rear-ended, dislocating a vertebrae in my back, and the other driver admits to his guilt in the heat of the moment. Of course the insurance company's official statement was that the driver of the car in which I was the passenger, was at fault. I suppose that's why he hit us at 40 mph while we were stopped at a red light - with a cop watching!

Don't you find it interesting that in an unscripted moment, the driver is remorseful, later changing His mind? I think that I can be like that too. Somehow I seem to conveniently forget the details of my own wrongs once they seem far enough in the past.

I once attended Cursillo (Tres Dias) and they often told us that Grace was God's-Riches-At-Christs-Expense. Grace, it was vehicle of the free gift that we needed receive by faith - one to open up and use by an act of our will. Evangelicals often call this salvation, but the giving of a valuable gift without merit, is truly a grace.

I don't know about you, but I wasn't willing to receive grace until two things happened. One, I was at the bottom of the barrel; desperate for some pain relief, and two, I was loved by strangers. You may read about my entrance into the Kingdom HERE, and the struggles that got me there, HERE.

I, like the man who smashed into me some 30 years ago, would unwillingly admit my guilt when caught in my transgressions, or when I was in so much pain over the choices that I made, there was no where else to turn. That is where I met grace. But guilt is not grace. Folks are sometimes made to feel guilty at altar calls. Making a decision for Christ under pressure rarely bares fruit.

Back to the accident. I ended up in the emergency room from my injury and it took 15 weeks for me to recover. I was unable to work, consequently having no income, I ended up in a welfare motel for a few weeks followed a couch surfing tour.

One night I lay there awake, no phone, no car, and nothing on TV. How could life be more difficult? It was one of the most painful days of my life. Where was grace now? I knelt down in the brown shag carpet next to the bed with an ugly green bedspread which smelled like cigarette smoke, and I asked God to forgive me of my sins. I had been saved for 10 years, but in my heart I knew I needed to get back on track. The car accident was no longer "someones fault," but one more incident that gently deepened my need to renew my relationship with Jesus.

Perspective is everything.

If we are honest with ourselves, many of us have had a period in life where skated on being obedient to the commands of God - and the pursuit of holiness. We wrapped that grace up in a garbage bag and left it for the last day. After all, we were saved, isn't that enough?

The grace of God covers us when we fail - truly one of the greatest benefits of being a Kingdom member. The grace of God is greater than anything we can do to mess it up. Why? Because nothing can separate us from the love of God! (Romans 8) And that means our sin too.

We can rationalize our thoughts, our behavior and convince ourselves that our motives are right. We can medicate our conscience with bus-y-ness or addictions, but we cannot escape Heaven.

When we discover that we deserve to be smote for even the smallest (in our eyes) offense, we will be well on our way to receiving grace. Grace transcends the notion of being good, for we can't be good enough for God. His holiness is absolute and what the word of God says is sin, IS.


Jesus suffered the penalty for all of our sins, even if it was just one. He got in line, taking our place on death-row and went to the cross. Many Christians just think that He died for us - and He did. But He also died in PLACE of us. That is the revelation of grace.

Receiving this grace is a ticket to heaven - and that is just the beginning. We do not want to abuse our grace by sinning, no, we want to live for Christ.

Jesus loves us so much, and under grace we are only bound by the law of love. However; grace is essential for covering us as we move towards passion for Jesus, then onto holiness - which opens the door for the abiding love of our Father in Heaven. Without grace we can't get in, without mercy we can't stay in, and without holiness we can't enter in to God's eternal presence.

After many years of trying, working at it, failing to "fix" myself, get "good" and act like a Christian, I discovered that I can't do it. Many times I read the following verse:

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJ) Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

What I thought was that we are new, but need to fix ourselves too. However; what it really means is that inside, because of grace, we have become new. And that is the person that we need to let out. That can only be done if the old man dies.

It is truly God's grace that He kills the old us with love, so that the new man can escape like a fragrant perfume. That process begins with saying. "Forgive me, it was my fault - I was wrong."


photogr said...

Makes you really appreciate what the Lord has done for us in His love for all humanity

eaglegirl said...

"He got in line, taking our place on death-row and went to the cross"
David this is a powerful picture of what Christ did for us. A potent way to describe to those who have not yet accepted God's grace just what Christ did for us.

Tony C said...

Sometimes I pray-'Father, thank you for being God. That's all I'll ever need to spend every breath praising and worshipping You. In Christ name, Amen.'

That helps remind me that His grace, love, mercy and listening to prayer are all so very, very special...