Have you ever had a moment where the enormity of eternity just washes over you like a big, thundering, drowning wave?
I have been thinking a lot about grace recently, and reading about it, and watching sermons on it. When you really stop to think about what Jesus did on the cross, as we are supposed to, especially at this time of year, it just blows my mind. Why, Jesus? Why did you do that for me? For me! Messed up, petty, selfish me! Its just amazing.
I was sitting in church this weekend and the illustration came to my mind of being on a roadtrip. Now, I am a directions person because I have ZERO natural sense of direction….like, I would get lost finding my way out of a paper bag, and for the love of all that’s holy, please never give me directions like “Go north”! I am a strict left or right person, and even then, I mess it up about half the time. But anyhoo, I got to thinking, what if I was on a roadtrip, and for some reason, my cell signal died but I didn’t know it. I was merrily driving along, figuring I was on the right path, but wasn’t getting any new guidance. I probably wouldn’t really realize the seriousness of my situation until I ended up in the middle of nowhere, with no directions, no gas station, no phone, no nothing. All alone, in a bad place, with no help or directions. I feel like I always take the GPS for granted while its working, but in a situation like that, you don’t really realize how much you need it until you can admit that you are lost in a very bad position and desperately need that guidance!
Its like our life. We can be merrily going along on our own way, thinking we are doing fine and are “good” people, but getting no guidance from a relationship with God, until we find ourselves in a bad situation, or we stop to actually admit that we are a little messed up and we have bad areas of our life that definitely need to be addressed. Sometimes you can’t see the amazing beauty of grace or God’s guidance until you can have that moment of acknowledging that without God as your saving “GPS”, you are lost in a desert all alone, no matter how you try to convince yourself otherwise. The Bible says that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). All the wrong things we do are sin in God’s eyes, and all sin separates us from Him, no matter how big or little you think that thing is, or how “good” you feel you are otherwise. Have you lied? Have you thought about another person intimately besides your spouse? Have you cheated? Said the Lord’s name in vain? All of these things are listed in the Bible as sins, and all will leave you separated from God, lost and wandering, unfulfilled, unchanged and ultimately unloved.
Eternity is an awful long time to be separated from God.
I’ve talked to quite a few people about this and I get that a lot of people have theological questions that keep them from taking the step to fully committing to Jesus Christ as their Savior, and others have issues with Jesus not being politically correct in today’s PC era, but I think we need to simplify all of that – the gospel comes down to one thing: love. Do you want to be loved by the creator of heaven and earth? Do you want to know that He has forgiven you of all the wrong that you have done, and that you can run to Him any time you mess up again and He says “It’s ok, sweetheart, I took care of it!”? I think all the answers to any other theological questions bind us up in ropes of “knowledge is power”, and we forget that the supernatural is not meant to be understood. Its meant to be accepted in faith, and lived out in freedom. I am saved. I am loved. I am guaranteed a future in heaven with the God who made me, and I am free from an eternity of suffering and pain and separation from God.
Growing up, I always said that I would never, ever get a tattoo unless I found something that meant the world to me and I wouldn’t regret seeing it on my body for the rest of my life, even when I was 80 and wrinkly. Guess what? Once I realized the enormity of grace in light of my sins, mess ups, character flaws and all the other muck, I wanted to be reminded Every. Single. Day. of how amazing grace was – hence my tattoo. I walk in His grace every day, amazed and humbled by it.
Eternity is an awfully long time. Don’t let any unanswered questions you have or any beliefs you question let you discount the core message of Jesus – you are loved, accepted, worthy of grace, and can be forever with Jesus if you just say “yes, Lord!”. Think on it this season leading up to Easter, and seriously consider what grace could mean for you!
Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin. But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.