Thursday, October 25, 2012

Jesus gives more than a do-over


I’m a sinner, and Jesus died for me and now God forgives my sins. 
Because He has had mercy, I get eternal life.

That will be great, then. But… now what?
What does this Jesus have to do with the in-between time, the time I am living right now?
What does His sacrifice have to do with my every-day?

Just a do-over?
Now that Jesus has given me His forgiveness, is it time for me to prove to Him how grateful I am? Should I work to make myself worthy?  Must I now strive to return the love He has given me to Him and to others?

In this kind of scenario, Jesus is standing far off, with his arms crossed, evaluating our performance. He has led the way as our example, and now he waits for us to catch up. He has shown us what love is, and now he expects us to get our hearts in the right place and go around loving people like he does.  He waits to see if we will make good use of our second chance. We hear Him asking us, “Are you doing enough? Are you obeying from the heart?  Are you grateful and joyful and eager to serve? Why not?”

If this were my Jesus, I would have quit long ago.
Trying hard, and always getting it right, and looking into the mirror of God’s Law, and failing, again, and again… it’s exhausting. It’s impossible.

No, this is not my Jesus.
My Jesus is kind and compassionate, and He has set me free from the law.

The grace we receive in Jesus is not merely do-over, a clean slate, a chance to get it right this time.   
No, it is much, much more than that. 

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, 
that we should be called children of God
And that is what we are! (1 John 3:1)


Grace and more grace

We have been made alive in Christ by grace, without any works on our part.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—  not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

And the rest of it? The life we live in Christ after He makes us alive?
That is grace too!

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. (Colossians 2:6-7)

The new life, the faith, the being made alive- these are gifts.
The continuing to live, the growing and abiding- these are gifts too!

Jesus is with us, in us, still pouring himself out for us and serving us, right now, today.  
He is not a God standing far off, waiting for us to measure up.
He is God with us, Emmanuel, and He is present with us to serve and help us.

As we grow up into our faith, (that is, we learn more and more of God's love for us,) we become eager to hear His Word and to receive the good things He has for us.  We do not spend time with God to satisfy His rules, or to get him off our back, but to receive what He provides. He is our good Father and form His hand we receive all good things.

(The Christian's life) is not only memorizing Scripture and having a Bible study; it is letting the person of Jesus Christ take up residence within you, not as a timid house-guest  but as the abundant provider, the bread-winner, the respected head of the household, the host.

He doesn't sit at your table, feeble and frail, waiting for you to feed him by reading your Bible and praying. He stands strong at the head, graciously filling your plate with all that he is. He lavishes us with a godly inheritance.  The riches of the fruit of his Spirit are made available to us in abundant supply. 
(Grace for the Good Girl by Emily P. Freeman, p. 150)

And so, we pray:

Come, Lord Jesus, be our guest
And let Thy gifts to us be blessed. Amen.


(Note to those of you who are not Lutheran: On Sundays, we go to "Divine Service."  We come to church to receive what God gives. We emphasize what God does for us, not what we do for God. Read more about this here.)


9 comments:

  1. What a beautiful explanation of the gospel of grace! It is gratitude for this wonderful gift which propels us forward in growth. He is always at work in us, transforming us into His likeness. Thanks for this!

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    1. So glad He is God with us and not God waiting for us to catch up!

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  2. Love this Emily- I really liked that verse too- I felt like I was seeing it in a new light. Col. 2:6-7 :) So glad to be reading this book with you.

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  3. Love this post! I was already following you via fb and now I am following your blog through the mommy moment hop!

    http://cumminslife.blogspot.com/

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  4. Great thoughts Emily - I might have been late to the party, but loved Grace for the Good Girl - Thank you for giving me that final kick in the pants to actual start reading it!

    Marissa
    http://forfunreadinglist.blogspot.com

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  5. Love these thoughts, thank you for sharing! God is so good to us!

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  6. Oh the wonderful gift of grace! Thank you for sharing this beautifully written post with Simply Helping Him! Blessings! :)

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  7. Great post!
    -Melanie

    P.S. I’m doing a $50 Shabby Apple giveaway on my blog. You should check it out here: http://meandmr.com/post/35113285949/shabby-apple-50-giveaway

    ReplyDelete

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