Apr 22, 2011

Thoughts on Grace

For many years, I wondered why they called the Friday before Easter, "Good" Friday. 

I grew up in church, so I knew it was the day we celebrated, (if that's what you want to call it), the day that Jesus died on the cross.  But what I didn't understand was why it was suppose to be "Good".

After all, he was beaten beyond what we could imagine.  He was mocked.  He was made to carry a huge cross on his back, and they actually drove nails into his hands and feet as they nailed him to that cross.  What is so "Good" about that?

But let me take a step back.

As I said before, I grew up in church.  And it was a Southern Baptist church, so that means we were pretty much there whenever the doors were unlocked, (and that was A Lot!).  All of my Sundays were spent going to Sunday school and then to Worship Service.  We sang hymns and choruses and I memorized plenty of Bible verses.

And on one Sunday, when I was twelve, I walked down the aisle and prayed a prayer and asked Jesus into my heart.  Soon after, I was baptized.

Now this all sounds well and good, and it was for the most part.  I believed that Jesus was God's only Son.  I believed that I was a sinner.  I believed that he died for my sins so that I could have a personal relationship with him and I wanted to accept that gift of undeserved grace.  Yes, I believed all of that.  The only problem is that while I believed all of that, I had no idea what it actually meant for my life.

Cut to a few years later when I was in complete rebellion of my parents and to an outsider, it would probably have appeared that I was doing pretty much everything I could to ruin my own life.  I won't go into all the details, but it wasn't good, and I was far from God.

But here's the "Good" part.  Even though I was doing everything I could to make a mess out of my life, I had already given my life to God, so it wasn't my own anymore, and He chased me.  As fast as I ran away, He ran after me.  Every bad thing I did, He was right there convicting me.  Every time I told Him, "I don't care what happens", His spirit whispered, "I do".  And guess who won?

Eventually, I realized that His love was so much bigger than anything I had done.  It was big enough to cover all of me, and every bad choice I had made.  It was real, and pure, and it was the truth.  Finally, I understood what the gift of His grace meant it my life.  It meant that I was saved.  I was saved from myself, and all the damage I could do.  I was saved from having a life apart from Him and His love.

And the only way that I am able to experience any of this is because over 2000 years ago, Jesus was willing to take on all of my sin upon himself.  Every bad thing I ever did, (or will do), He was punished for.  And not only my sin, but that of the whole world.  He was blameless, yet He suffered and died for me, for you, for all of us. And while this may seem harsh and cruel and horrible, it is actually Very, Very GOOD.  Because if He had not done this, there would be no gift of grace to accept, and that grace is beyond Good...it is everything!

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