Why is grace such a hard concept to really receive? Free. Someone else has picked up the tab completely for our salvation, forgiveness, eternal life, adoption, and on and on. That someone else of course was Jesus, God's perfect Son. If I am honest with myself, I still drift towards this notion that I earn my acceptance before God. On a 'good' day when I remember to do my 'quiet time', I talk nice to my wife on the phone, and I don't lose my temper with my kids I might think to myself...'you know, God is sure lucky to have me on His team'. Then there are those not so 'good' days where I hit snooze, I speed, I forget to read my Bible, I snap at someone, I have all kinds of horrible thoughts, etc and I think 'I am such an awful person...God doesn't love me....no way.'
But both of these thought patterns are completely off. Those 'good' day thoughts fall miserably short of understanding God's holiness. The fact is that even my best days and my best efforts are like 'filthy rags' as it says in Isaiah 64:6. I call them 'good' based on my comparison to the average person around me and not based on God's perfect standard of holiness. My 'bad' day thoughts also are way off. They fall miserable short of understanding God's grace. The grace of God extended to the criminal on the cross, the woman caught in adultery, the tax collector, and the demon-posessed. Over the centuries that grace has extended to the murderers, the rapists, and the vilest offenders who have done the most evil things imaginable. Yes, I fall immeasurably short on either side of the spectrum. I just don't get the height of God's holiness and the depth of God's grace. All I can do is allow His holiness to convict me as guilty and His grace to declare my as righteous. My job is not to earn but to accept by faith what He has purchased for me and in turn live a life out of gratitude for this priceless gift. Wow, what an amazing God we serve.
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith —and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.