God's Gift of Grace in His Son and His Church
The beauty of the Cross is on full display in the Gospel. God’s divine wrath toward sin poured out upon the willing sacrifice of Jesus. God fully just and justifying sinners through the work of Christ on the Cross. In this act of judgment, God is able to give grace freely. It is by grace we have been saved. We did not accomplish it. We did not earn it. We received it. We all love Christ for dying for our sin, and we often define our sin as the bad things that we do – the things we feel guilty over. But God’s gift of grace extends far beyond what we would consider sin to be.
Christ came to cover all of our sin. The bible has some pretty strong words for us in regard to our sin. Sin is lawlessness. Our righteousness is like filthy rags to God. Anything not done from faith is sin. Let’s think about these a little more deeply. God does not simply look at an action and categorize it as “good” or “bad,” God looks at the heart and sees what is done from faith and what is not. Meaning that one action done by two different people could be considered sin in the life of one and righteousness in the life of another. Most of misunderstand sin to be a simple list of actions that we do or don’t do. The bible teaches us something very different. Christ came to die for sin, and not just the sin of those who knew they were doing something bad or the actions that we would morally categorize as bad. Christ came to die for every act performed outside of faith. Without Christ we can do no good thing – put another way, we can do NOTHING good without Christ. We need to stop thinking of our lives in regards to the ratio of good actions performed versus bad actions. Instead, we ought to think of our lives in regard to whether or not our faith is in Christ. God rescues us from ourselves in the grace of Christ.
Beyond this, when God pours His grace on the sinner, He brings us into His family, His body the Church. This is a bigger blessing than most of us realize because it is within the church that God works to make us more like Christ. We are equipped by the leaders of the church, challenged by the members of the church, sanctified by walking in with the church, and ultimately glorified united with the church. In the church we are safe to grow and mature in our relationship with Christ as we all submit to His Word and authority. Too many people who have received the grace of God through Christ walk away from the God-given blessing of the church, particularly then local church. But our opportunity of being in a local body of believers is part of why Christ died. He was willing to go to the cross that we may be unified in Him on the mission of making disciples and testifying to His grace in our lives.
Christ died that you may have life in Him. God’s gift is given that we may experience life in the way He intended. Not trusting our own righteousness to save us but trusting in the finished work of His Son. This grace also calls us to participation in the local church as Christ works in each of us to accomplish the work of His grace in the world. May it be that we receive the fullness of God’s gift of grace by embracing His Son and His Church.