Day 76: The Finality of Grace
ONE THING REMAINS
If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all--how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died--more than that, who was raised to life--is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: "For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered." No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. -Romans 8:31-37
Grace can be a hard thing to describe. It is like trying to describe true love - I can tell you what it is until my face turns blue, but until you experience it you can really understand what it is.
Whenever we fall prey to sin, we are stained by it. It is a mark that we cannot erase. At a certain point, when we have been repeatedly marked by sin, we give up any hope of things getting better. But we have a question to consider: Is the grace of God enough to blot out the stain of sin? Dear friends, it is more than enough. But like any gift, we have to be open to receive it. The truth of the matter is that Jesus paid the price for all sin on the cross. All sin. For all time. The only question is whether or not we'll receive this grace bestowed on us. As we have reviewed in this course, grace does not give us a free license to continue to sin. Rather, receiving the gift of grace requires that we repent of sin at a heart level. We cannot fool God - He sees and knows our hearts.
THE POWER OF GRACE
But make no mistake - the power of grace is weightier than the power of sin.
If the grace that came through Christ outweighs the sin of Adam, which extended to every man ever born, how much more does it outweigh our particular sins? As you move forward in life, you will continually encounter sin whether its yours or others. No matter the sin, grace wins!
Remember the cost that Christ paid to purchase the gift of grace. If we fail to remember, it becomes all too easy to dismiss grace as being insufficient to make up for the wrong we experience. Grace came at a costly price, and it will always cover us as long as we accept it. Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ, except for our own refusal to be loved.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. -Romans 8:38-39
This unfailing love changes us. How can we possibly continue believing that we are not worthy of love when the God of the universe loves us so recklessly? Remember the story of the father and son who shared a love of baseball? In the story, the father refuses to give the gifts to his son after the son betrays the father. Continuing with that story, the father doesn't return those gifts. He keeps them, waiting for the son to return so that he can gift him. Consider the parable of the prodigal son:
Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them. “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate. -Luke 15:11-24
This is the Father's heart towards us. Even after we've thrown everything away, God holds on to the goodness and waits for us to return to him. And when we turn back to God, He comes running to us. It doesn't matter if we've left once or a thousand times. His love and grace never run out. All we have to do is turn to Him.
Day 76 Application
Consider how you would respond to someone if they said they thought they deserved to be forgiven by God because of all the positive changes they have made to stop sinning.
How would you respond to a person who felt they were unworthy to be forgiven by God because of their struggle with sin?
If another person admitted that they are okay living a sinful life and have no plans to change, how then would you respond?
How does grace play a part of the last three questions?