I've been thinking a lot about grace lately. My thought process began in a fetid pile of shame. Shame and the acknowledgement of my unworthiness of Heaven or even of any relationship with a Holy God. I have, over the years, as my health has disintegrated...looked forward to Heaven with my whole being. But lately....there has been tinges of doubt spoiling my anticipation. I've experienced some failure in overcoming some persistent sin and questions have come to my mind as to my readiness to stand before the throne of God..What if I'm one of the ones Paul describes in 1 Corinthians who arrive in Heaven with only the skin on their backs?? What if I am completely missing the boat and leaving something crucial undone ...what if I've not fulfilled God's calling in my life? What if poor decisions I've made have completely derailed that which I was supposed to do in my time on this earth....Or more essential and infinitely more disturbing is the question, "what if my character is NOT what God demands and desires of me?" What if I'm completely degenerate and unsanctified?
Well,...I know all "about " grace....But to know about grace and to encounter GRACE are two completely different things. And so is to comprehend that I am a measly woman who is completely incapable of derailing God's plans and purposes in my life or on earth; and so also to grasp that God is a refuge full of goodness and will not reject anyone who throws themselves upon his mercies. In just the past two or three days, I've encountered the personifications of the grace of God through His People. I've studied Psalm 34 and the Scriptures listed here yesterday. Some of you have commented here on my blog trying to get me to see the expansiveness of God's love and mercy. Some people over at SparkPeople.com (as I described in yesterday's blog) have lovingly set about to adjust my God-glasses. And finally, my beloved cyber friend whom I've yet to met "in real life" sent me four links on YouTube of Francis Chan preaching on the subject of.....GRACE. I haven't finished watching them all...but I've seen enough to know that I've really just had it all wrong.
I am absolutely immersed in sin...it is part and parcel of my being....programmed right into my DNA...I have repeatedly failed...broken resolutions and promises to God....failed and failed again in defeating certain sins. I am grossly unworthy of crossing the gate of Heaven; grossly unworthy to hear God's voice or to be heard by Him; resistant to God's plans and often insisting on my own; being tripped up time and time again by my own inadequacy, stubbornness or downright stupidity when it comes to carrying out God's will in my life. And in NO WAY do I deserve never ending life in the presence of God and Jesus....I am a corrupt vessel for the Holy Spirit to indwell....But....
Did you get that???
when God looks at me---He doesn't see this flawed Cynthia. He sees me as I shall be...as I already AM because it is as good as done.... God dwells outside of Time where the Future telescopes the Present and Past. God looks at me and sees His SON...His beloved Son. and I am the Bride of His Son. being made perfect by my adoption of the name of my beloved....as I take on the Name of Christ, I take on also, the character of Christ. And not any of my blunderings can change that. God has saved me from a certain and eternal and miserable death by His own payment in His own blood for the punishment I deserved.
And things are going as planned...as foreseen ...as KNOWN by my loving God. He is not thrown by my psychoses. He is not nonplussed when I get lost in Paranoia. He is not taken aback when I am confused.
He does not reject me when I lose my temper or swear or despair.
He merely loves me.
And loves His Son in me who makes it possible for me to be inhabited by His Spirit.
He knows me. Inside and out. Every sin, fault, strength, hope, fear.......He knows it all. NONE of it surprises HIm. And NONE of it catches Him unprepared. He's more than ready to deal with whatever I shall fling.
And that just blew me away today., The law is for my freedom...it is to grant me permission to act in accordance with God's commands...It removes indecision...It protects me from the heavy burden of wrong choices. (these ideas come from the writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer whom I've been reading in my devotions) . The law is to show me how utterly powerless I am to keep it. (and I would say that I'm successfully grasping that. ) It is to show me the level and standards within which God dwells and operates. It is to show me a much more beautiful world.....one that operates in harmony with its Designer.
The law condemns ...yes...the penalty is death for breaking it....
But thanks be to the Lord Jesus, he has freed me from this body condemned to death.
And FAther God, tucks in his robes and sees me coming in the distance and RUNS to meet me. Embrace me. Put his ring on my finger. NO finger wagging. NO cold disapproval. NO condemnation ....
And that is GRACE.
Isn't it beautiful???