I talk a lot about grace. I believe that grace is really the underpinning of all that we do, all that we believe, all that we are as Christians. Grace really is everything.
But where do I get this from? Why do I always, always, always go back to grace? Part of it is the teaching and life of Jesus, how He loves all, but also challenges all to be more faithful. But it is what He does through the cross, how it so perfectly corresponds with the teachings of the Old Testament, how all the Bible is leading up that point of the cross and the empty grave.
And so much of it is how Paul and the rest of the New Testament expounds upon the work of the cross and empty grave. How over and over again Paul and others remind us of the grace of Jesus Christ.
Today reading is really one of the foundational verses for my ministry, for what I do how I do it. It is found in Romans 2: 1-4
1 Therefore you have no excuse, whoever you are, when you judge others; for in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, are doing the very same things. 2 You say, “We know that God’s judgment on those who do such things is in accordance with truth.” 3 Do you imagine, whoever you are, that when you judge those who do such things and yet do them yourself, you will escape the judgment of God? 4 Or do you despise the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience? Do you not realize that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?
Verse Four is just one of those verses to me that changes everything. Do you not realize that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance. We aren’t lead to God out of fear, but out of the awareness of God’s love.
Now, many of us may have come to God out of fear. Out of fear of hell, or fear of judgment of just fear in general of God. That’s where I started out when I was younger. I knew I’d done a lot of dumb things, and I was pretty sure that God was really mad at me. I just knew He was going to get me.
But you know what? This fear of God didn’t draw me closer to God. For me, it pushed me away. I didn’t love God; I was afraid of Him. I respected Him. But I didn’t feel that love.
Until I understood grace. Or started to understand grace. I began to realize that God wasn’t mad at me, but He loved me. He loved me more than anything. I understood His kindness. His mercy. His grace.
And you know what happened then? I wanted to know Him. I wanted to serve Him. I wanted to be close to Him. I desired Him, and He desired me.
His kindness led me to repentance. His kindness led me to faithless. His kindness led to me to a growing faith.
I was not led to repentance out of fear. But out of kindness.
It is God’s love that drives us to be faithful. It is God’s grace that leads us to life.
Today, know that God is not mad at you. He loves you. May that love draw you closer to Him!
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