Sunday, December 19, 2010

Saved by His Grace

But suppose we seek to be made right with God through faith in Christ and then we are found guilty because we have abandoned the law. Would that mean Christ has led us into sin? Absolutely not!  Rather, I am a sinner if I rebuild the old system of law I already tore down.
For when I tried to keep the law, it condemned me. So I died to the law—I stopped trying to meet all its requirements—so that I might live for God.  My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.  I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die.  (Galations 2:17-21, NLT)

I visited my sister this week and we tend to have deep conversations while she is trimming my hair.  Strange, but true.  She was telling me about a youth group and Bible study.  The implied rules of behavior are very strict.  If those rules are not followed, the rule breaker is publicly shamed.  The shame was put in context of a joke, but the teen was hurt by the "joke." 

The idea of following rules is not new to me.  My perception of Chrisitanity was a teen was such that we were saved by grace, but I still needed to be perfect to be a "good" Christian.  At one time, I decided that if we were to tithe our monies maybe I needed to tithe everything.  So I figured out that 10% of a day was 2 hours 10 minutes.  I needed to tithe my time and so 2:10 of every day was to be spent reading the Bible and praying.  I got up at 5 am so I wouldn't run out of time.  I often found myself dozing and would blame myself for not being "good" enough to stay focused.  This only lasted a short time before the fatigue was overwhelming.  I ended it with a great deal of shame and frustration.  I felt I had failed Christ. 

It was years before I began to see that it is grace that allows me to be my imperfect self and still be Christ's child.  The grace of God offers us salvation.  The grace of God allows us to continue to be saved without needing to be sinless.  Which is a very good thing as there is no way I could remain sinless. 

God saved you by his GRACE when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. (Eph. 2:8, NLT)


ERG said...

Thank you.
I can't tell you how much I needed to hear this today.

Keeley said...

Amen. I struggled with this too, but then I read "Believing Christ" by Stephen Robinson, and it totally opened my eyes to Grace. If we're perfect, we don't need the Atonement. If we believe we can be perfect, that's a form of pride.

But if we acknowledge how much we need Christ, we can be perfect *in Him* and it is his Grace that brings us back to Our Father in Heaven. Such a beautiful, sweet, loving gift.