Grace....its easy to dismiss grace as the get out of jail free card.....most of us Christians have spent much time disparaging those that need constant grace, forgetting to look in the mirror of the Word to make sure we have our own measure of grace in place.
The truth is, if not for grace, we would all be screwed. Yes, that is the technical term for it. Sin came by one man to all, grace came by one man to all. Easy to say, simple for God to do, hard for us to grasp fully what that means.
These past few years, I am learning what grace is. It is the classical interpretation, "unmerited favor from God" but its so much more than this. This sounds religious. And Jesus had some unkind things to say about religion. Religion keeps man from God under the guise of pointing man to God by creating rules through which man must approach God. Instead, grace opens the path for man to approach God freely and in his own way. Yes, Jesus is the only way to God, but how we get to Jesus is up to us and grace throws wide the door to the throne room and invites all who are weary, dirty, tired, poor, sick, and burdened with life to enter His presence and celebrate life. There is no caveat....just invitation.
Grace makes it possible for me to lay aside my desire to sin. Not just the sin itself, but the desire. As I revel in His grace, my desire for sin diminishes, as I rely on myself, my desire for sin increases. Grace is not greasy, its just the opposite. Grace covers all but births within me the desire to have less to cover. Grace says, "I'll cover your sin, but there's a better way".
I see on the landscape of religion, ways to exclude, boundaries keeping people out. Yet the Good News of the Kingdom was so great that people died getting it to other people. The religion I have known is not good enough, not exciting enough to lay down my life for. Rules and regulations through which I approach God is simply not the Good News.
If those of us calling ourselves Christians presented the real Good News (provided we understand it properly) perhaps those we are presenting to would receive it with more joy.
Grace and truth, the entirety of the Good News message. While we were sinners, Christ died for us so that we who were dead in our sin, could live again.....the price paid for all mankind, once and for all. No one left out....and no further action needed. Because of this, we can live life fully alive in the Kingdom. Our choice. We choose to live in the Kingdom or we choose to live in hell. The Kingdom according to Jesus is in the hearts of men. If the Kingdom is in the hearts of men, which means we have the choice of where to live this present life. Surely any choice we make to live below Kingdom standards is choosing to live in the gates of hell.
God's ways are not our ways. What makes sense to us is just foolishness to him. What is foolishness to us is very often the way of the Kingdom.....it makes sense for me to have to perform something to live in the Kingdom and yet He says "nope....just live, My gift to you, enjoy".
I choose the Kingdom....