Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Living with Grace

"You mean I have to just live with this?"
(usually said in an unbelieving tone of voice, after being told you've contracted something contagious, or some other unpleasant idea has come home to roost)

But what about if it's living with grace? What if your life is suddenly defined by a generous forgiveness and favor, not by a performance standard, or perfectionistic behavior, or finding ways to feel superior (or inferior) to others?

I'm so accustomed to measuring my own performance, hourly and daily, and falling short of the ideal. You know what's even worse? When I judge others by the same strict standard -- a standard not even God has on me anymore.

Ephesians 1:4-7 says this (in God's Word version) "Before the creation of the world, he chose us through Christ to be holy and perfect in his presence. Because of his love he had already decided to adopt us through Jesus Christ. He freely chose to do this, so that the kindness he had given us in his dear Son would be praised and given glory. Through the blood of his Son we are set free from our sins. God forgives our failures because of his overflowing kindness."

Past tense. It's done. I'm already a part of the kingdom of the Son, through His perfection (not mine) because God loves me!

That takes some getting accustomed to. I have to keep remembering that God loves me, not because of what a great guy I am (yeah, right) but because he, before he even designed and created the cosmos, decided he would.

It's also been said this way: I can't do anything to make him love me more. I can't do anything to make him love me less.

Wow. I guess I can learn to live with that!

"But Mark, don't you want to do good things to please God?" Absolutely! (tune in next time, folks!)

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