Last Sunday, Chris reminded us: We are not accepted by God because of the good things we do and we are not rejected by God because of the bad things we’ve done.
Chris is a serious gift to our church. He and his wife lead one of our Community Groups and serve in countless ways.
Last week, during our Sunday worship service, he shared how several years ago God opened his eyes to understand grace and how it has changed him completely. Read along to see.
I was not raised in church and grew up giving very little thought to God and what he thought of my life. Yet, nearly 10 years ago, God intervened in my life. He saved me. He forgave my sins and rescued me from a life of self-destruction.
However, I had made a number of bad decisions in my past that affected my life and those I love most. My worldly ways and lack of leadership in the past plagued my marriage to Cindy. My selfish choices tempted my kids and left them with memories that to this day I wish did not exist.
I so desired to have a healthy relationship with God, but I began to struggle as I saw that I could not escape these and other consequences of my sin. I struggled to feel close to God. I struggled to understand God’s love. Even though I would not have said it out loud, I basically concluded God could never completely love me.
The effects of this way of thinking and living were significant. There became an ungodly pattern in my prayers. I would often begin praying by saying, “God I am sorry for how I have failed you today.” I found myself running as fast as I could on the performance treadmill, attempting to correct my past, and attempting to earn a right relationship with God through the way I was living. And when things were not going well, I became depressed. Needless to say, this prevented me from enjoying and receiving God’s love.
I am very thankful for the many God-fearing men who were not afraid to speak gospel truth to me during this time. One friend explained how it was prideful of me to ponder on the mistakes of my blood bought past. Another told me that it was sinful of me to think that I should deserve more punishment than Christ did on the cross for my sin. That’s what I was doing—instead of receiving his complete forgiveness I assumed he would love me more if I held on to the guilt I felt for my past mistakes.
I slowly began to comprehend how it is not my power that makes an end to my sin, but it is God’s power, and it is because of Jesus that there is no more condemnation. God began to show me how my finest works are stained with sin, but his gospel gives me endless hope and peace. I began to understand that God’s grace and mercy is unmeasured and that my righteousness comes from the righteousness of Jesus Christ. It has renewed my heart and mind to know that God’s grace does not accuse me, and that my freedom is in Christ.
Even though I continue to walk through difficult situations because of some of my past mistakes, I can truly say that today my joy is in my salvation and in the promises of God.
Praise be to God alone!