For it is by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
It is has been said that grace is getting something good that you don’t deserve and mercy is not getting what you do deserve. In Ephesians 1:8 it says that God lavished the riches of His grace on us. He didn’t just give us a little bit of His riches, but He piled it on generously. Grace is how we come to God and grace is how we keep following God. It’s all God.
We try to make it about us and our works somehow, whether it is coming to God, or serving Him once coming to Him. In Genesis 4 there is the account of Cain and Abel, Adam and Eve’s sons. Cain brought a fruit offering and it wasn’t accepted by God. Abel brought some sheep as an offering to God. Back in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve covered up with fig leaves, God made a covering for them of animal skins. This begins the theme of blood needing to be shed to cover our sins. Hebrews 9:22 states it, “Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin.”
I think Cain and Abel knew that. But Cain brought his own offering, not what God wanted or would accept. He’s like Frank Sinatra singing, “I did it my way,” the people that try to be good in their own way, whether it is through occasional church attendance, getting baptized or confirmed, or giving money to charities. But our “goodness” isn’t acceptable to God, because even at our best we’re still flawed. If you’re like Cain, then you get mad if you don’t feel accepted by God, or because He doesn’t accept your terms. Turn it around.
Jesus died as our sin covering, once and for all. He paid the price for our sins that we can’t pay for on our own, or earn by our good works. When we try to do things our way to placate our conscience, God isn’t pleased. Religion is coming to God our way. People say they don’t want religion, and neither does God. He wants a personal relationship with us because that’s why He made us. Sin messed it up, Jesus fixed it.
We need this Jesus fix not just when we become a Christian, but throughout our Christian lives. It is grace that is at work that changes us from being a rebel, bent on serving ourselves and finding our own ways to get through life. Titus 2:11-12 tells us that God’s grace trains us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions and to live godly lives. It is God’s grace that changes me, which is way better than my own striving and pathetic attempts to be good or acceptable to God.
Take a bath in God’s grace. Let Him change you and speak to you about having a resting relationship with Him because of Jesus. It really is amazing grace.