Saturday, January 23, 2010

A Great Gift

I was pondering my life last night and I came to the realization that I am not perfect. I know this may come as a shock to you, but the reality is that I struggle with temptation and sin in my life. There is no doubt that I wish this wasn’t the case, but it is the truth.

When I take time to think about my sin I become so angry. I desperately want to do better and live a righteous life. It is so tiring to struggle and struggle with the same sin and I begin to wonder if I will if change. I just don't have the strength or the self-control to overcome the evil that is in my life.

At times like these it is so wonderful to remember God's amazing grace. God is not up in Heaven waiting for us to sin so He can punish us. God sits on His throne with so much love for us, wanting us to have the wonderful life He created us to have. He weeps for us because He knows the consequences of our sins take us far away from the life we are to live. Sin prevents us for truly enjoying the life God has given to us.

What is the answer to this life of sin? In a word it is God’s grace. What is grace? Grace is God's way of saying, “I love you even though you have hurt Me." Sin is always first and foremost against God, and it always damages the relationship we are intended to have with Him. The consequences of our sin have us bound and we do not have the strength to break free. God comes to us and offers us the key to escape the power of sin.

The first key of grace comes in the form of Jesus Christ.
Through His death and resurrection the penalty of our sin is dealt with. I will be honest with you salvation is a great mystery to me. I don’t understand how one man’s death pays for all of our sins. It doesn’t seem to add up in my mind. And while I don’t understand it the resurrection of Jesus gives me confidence that my sins are taken care of and that I have been given new life. I believe the testimony of the New Testament that without Jesus the wages of sin is death, but with Jesus our sins are removed and we can stand before God with confidence.

The second key of grace is the presence of the Holy Spirit.
While Jesus takes care of the penalty of our sin, the Holy Spirit gives us the strength and guidance we need to overcome the everyday sin we have in our lives. With the Holy Spirit's help we are able to overcome the problems sin puts in our relationship with God, and helps us to pursue the life we were created to live. Since the Holy Spirit is key to living a righteous life and overcoming sin it is important that we provide Him with the tools to guide us. Study of the Bible, prayer, and fellowship with other Christians are essentials for a Spirit guided life.

Grace is an essential part of our life as Christians. It is this idea that makes Christianity different from every other religion. The reason is because grace says that salvation depends, not on our righteous living, but God’s mercy and compassion. Consider what the apostle Paul wrote about God’s grace:
For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with self-control, right conduct, and devotion to God, while we look forward to that wonderful event when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing what is right. (Titus 2:11-14; NLT)

The reason we can look forward to the wonderful event of Jesus' return isn't because of the righteous life we have lived, but because of God's grace seen in Jesus' sacrifice and the gift of the Holy Spirit. Our righteousness has little to do with our behavior and everything to do with God's gift.

Please remember that while sin is a part of our lives we shouldn’t let it get us down. God has given us His grace. This is not a license to sin, but a second chance to trust God and commit ourselves to once again do His will. Real eternal life is not the result of our good and righteous lives, but the gracious gift of God. May we live our lives in grateful response to this reality.

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