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“But people are counted as righteous, not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgives sinners.” Romans 4:5 (NLT)
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” Ephesians 2:8 (ESV)
WHEN WE DIE, WE WILL MEET JESUS.
The Bible is clear that every knee will bow and every tongue confess that He is the Lord (Phil. 2:10-11; Romans 4:11, etc.).
For unbelievers, that moment will be a terrifying one, in the words of Pastor Francis Chan, but for believers, it will be a moment of exquisite pleasure, when the Creator of life welcomes us into His Kingdom.
He will apportion heavenly rewards based on our merit, and Jesus was clear that every stray word we utter will be judged, that He sees into our hearts and knows our motives.
BY THAT ACCOUNTING, I surely will be found wanting. In even the best of moments, I have botched my end of it by uttering an inappropriate comment or feeling an ungracious thought.
Those around me sometimes notice, often don’t, but He takes note and will remember.
It pains me to think of Jesus smiling to see me, reaching His hand out to embrace me, and then whispering into my ear, “I love you, but too often you let me down. You came up short. I couldn’t count on you to finish the job. Nevertheless, enter my rest.”
One anonymous Christian writer, expressing dismay with his own sordid condition, praised God this way:
“Yes, I’m a Christian. Yes, I can be the biggest hypocrite ever. I backslide. I stumble. I fall. I stray onto the wrong path. But God is working in me. I may be a mess, but I’m His mess.” —Anon
SOMETIMES IN MY WALK with Christ, I need to feel the pain of my sin, for it’s only by feeling the weight of my transgressions that I can gain even the glimmer of what salvation means or the sacrifice our God made when at the right time “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8 NIV).
The Bible says, “For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9 (NET)
It is so true that we humans do not merit salvation based on our good works — not our actions, not our thoughts, not our words, not even the unspoken feelings in our hearts — none of which could pass a merit test, even with a healthy dose of leniency thrown in.
HOW GRACIOUS AND LOVING our God is to see all of that mess, all of that sin, all of that wickedness and still love us so much that He would allow His Son to be sacrificed for our redemption.
He did not do this just for our sakes, as an act of divine magnanimity. He did it for His glory, to demonstrate that He alone is God and there is no other. That act of self-glorification, which in humans is hubris beyond the pale, in the realm of the Almighty is our certain seal of redemption — that trait is what guarantees our future in Paradise.
He alone is God, and there is no other.
LORD, you are great and powerful. You have glory, victory, and honor. “Everything in heaven and on earth belongs to you. The kingdom belongs to you, LORD; you are the ruler over everything.”1 You told us since the dawn of human history, “I, and I alone, am God.”2 For LORD, it is Your Holy Spirit that seals our hearts and souls “for the day of redemption.”3 Thank You, LORD Jesus. Amen
1. 1 Chronicles 29:11 (NCV) / 2. Deuteronomy 32:39a (GNT) / 3. Ephesians 4:30b (NIV)
1. How would you describe God’s gift of grace in your life? Have you claimed that gift for yourself or is this not something that interests you?
2. Can you see how salvation is an unmerited gift from God, that you cannot earn God’s favor because of your sin nature, or do you think that, based on the people around you, you’re basically a good person and God certainly knows it?
3. Does *salvation by grace* sound like a secure thing, or is it too tenuous for you? Can you lay claim to God’s guarantee that salvation comes from your repentance and acceptance of His saving grace?
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