What About Grace…?

          This morning my heart is troubled, and my soul is heavy. Not because my life is going awry or my faith even being tested, rather because I have seen a faith devoid of grace, and the saddest part is that these individuals aren’t going to budge. Pride mixed with legalism is a very dangerous concoction. So I began to think… What does grace really mean to me? It is a question that not many Christians have taken the time to ponder as they traverse the rut of everyday life, but need to, for it is an essential line of thinking for all. What is grace?

          A, long, long, long time ago in a land far, far away lived a man. This man was normal, probably not what we would consider physically attractive, and definitely not financially well off, but he had a destiny, a destiny he was born for. This man worked hard and toiled with his hands, helping to support his family by the sweat of his brow and the strength in his bones. No doubt this man was happy, his mother and father had raised him well, protecting him until his time came to change the world, for he was to become the savior of mankind. This man was Jesus.

          I often ponder what Jesus’ life was truly like before He began His ministry, before He spent time in the wilderness and before he faced the temptations of the devil. I wonder what he ate, drank, how he talked, smiled, and how He treated those he came into contact with. I wonder if He had crushes on girls, if He played any sports, if He went to school, if He had any hobbies, or if He had any real fears. Granted this man was perfect, but He was also still a man- a man that felt our joys, lived through our pains, experienced our temptations and got to know our weaknesses by becoming one of us. Jesus was alive for little over three decades, but His ministry really truly began on that third year before His execution. So with so much of His life before His ministry, I have found myself imagining scenarios, friendships and overall I have been imaging how Jesus was living His life prior to His wilderness experience. I love the scene in the Passion of the Christ where Jesus and Mary are playing around and you get to see Jesus laughing and teasing His mom. The scene hit me hard as the humanity of Christ began to make itself real within my heart, next to the divinity and mantle of Godhood that Christ wore on His shoulders.

          As I get older and the Lord graciously teaches me more and more about Himself, I am constantly blown away by the realization of just how insignificant I really am. No I’m not just trying to down myself here, I am just being real. From the time my father’s sperm, reached my mother’s egg and I was created within the womb, I have utterly deserved hell. I wholeheartedly believe that. And as I get older nothing has changed. Josh Sisson, one of my closest friends, was talking to me about this early Saturday afternoon on a phone call. We were discussing Hitler, Stalin, and Saddam, and how neither of us were more deserving of God’s grace than any of those three men, and that without Christ we would be just as evil, just as capable and prone to doing that evil, and just as fallible as anyone else on the planet. After all, the degree to which those men were guilty wasn’t what was important. The important fact is that they were guilty. But so are we! While Hitler, Stalin, and Saddam may have collectively murdered millions of innocent lives, we are all guilty of murdering Jesus. And that one sin makes us just as guilty and just as corrupt as any of those evil individuals. Why God blessed us and led us to His still waters and on His safe pathways, I have no clue. But I am thankful.

          So what does grace mean to me? My friends, if I am to be humble in my answer then I must say that I do not know the definition of God’s grace. Why? Because I just don’t get it… My mind, my heart, and my soul can not comprehend its meaning, for it is so beautiful, so free, yet it costs us everything. Why God would ever send His perfect Son to die for the likes of me is something I will never understand? I know I don’t deserve His mercy, and so the whole concept baffles me. BUT what I do know is this, I am truly thankful.

          God revealed Himself in friends, creation, experiences, and pain. He has revealed Himself in sadness, in happiness, in love and in hate. Everything reflects my God… Everything and everyone. No this is not a pantheistic belief, rather it is a logical and literal interpretation of the Gospels. When God says that we are made into His image, then I have to believe that we literally reflect His image. So when one travels the roads of life we need to remember two things.

          1. We are no better or more deserving than anyone of God’s love. The whore on the street selling herself for money, the pimp profiting from that sale, the men that buy her, the drug dealers that sell the abomination of drugs, murderers, terrorists, fornicators, homosexuals… We are NO better than these people, for none of us deserve God’s forgiveness, or His love. When one solidly implants that within their head, and applies that to interaction with sinners, then the whole gospel is spoken the way God wants it to be, exalting Him and Him alone, but proving His eternal love for us.

          2. We can learn something about God from everyone we meet. I wholeheartedly believe that God has given every individual alive a unique piece of His image, therefore giving us the ability to learn about Him from each other, without judgement or prejudice. If we approach others with the mentality that we can learn something about our perfect Father, then those people cease to be a mission project and truly become our brothers. I am not saying that we will ever accept their sin, I am saying that we will accept that part of God within them, that divine spark. God created everything to reflect Him, and we do that whether we like it or not.

          So in pondering the topic of grace on this Sabbath morning, I would like to encourage all of you to think about how amazing the Lord is for giving us a second chance, for allowing us an opportunity to live out an eternity with Him, praising His name forever. We serve an awesome God, perfect in His grace, and while my brain can’t fully comprehend much about things such as grace, His love, His holiness, or even the concept of eternity, I trust Him with those things, and with my heart and with my salvation.

          The video below is a worship song called “grace” by Phil Wickham, my favorite Christian musician… I encourage you to check it out and really pay attention to the words he sings. Thanks guys!

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~ by Tim Kurek on September 9, 2007.

3 Responses to “What About Grace…?”

  1. Tim,
    I loved your post. It is everything that has been on my heart but actually put into well worded form. I can’t keep my focus long enough to really give details to my thoughts. I am very easily distracted. On to the next crazy thought in my head. Seriously, I really felt like you were writing my thoughts down for me. It was very scary! The legalism issues, the thankfulness, and loving others. I have felt such a tenderness in my heart toward others lately. Especially those that really seem to be indifferent about their sin. I know we all sin, I do not think that I am holier than thou, but you know some people just openly live in sin. Without repentance or remorse. Sometimes I even think just plain old without knowledge. My friend’s dad is gay. He has a boyfriend that is dying from brain cancer. I hate their sin but I find myself hurting so bad for them. I know what they do is wrong but the pain they feel is as real as if it were me and mine. I get very confused. I guess the confusion comes from society put a degree rating to sin. This sin is worse than that sin. So it is okay to feel bad for the liar but not the homosexual. Anyway, I pray for them but I really feel such sympathy for their loneliness. They must be very lonely seperated from God. I assume seperation based on the perversion. I think the advice is “when you find yourself in a hole, stop digging”. I guess I should stop digging. I loved your post and will be reading more soon!

  2. Thank you so much for the gracious comment… May the Lord’s name be praised for the mirrored thought patterns we share. I too have homosexual friends, friends that have been cast out and alienated by the church, and feel your inner dilemma. The thing of it is, God has some strict rules, but He created us to be His children, and knew us from before He created time! He had hopes for us, dreams for us, and gave everyone a fair chance at knowing Him… Then we fell. What a sad day that must have been for God, even if expected. I try to wonder what He was thinking when Adam and Eve, feebly tried to hide from Him. We all try to hide like that at some point in our lives, and no doubt God thinks the very same thoughts, “Your just like your matriarch and patriarch” haha.

    Anyways, God wants us to love sinners and hate their sin. That is what legalists don’t understand. If we are to hate “those” that are evil and not hate their sin, then we have to hate each other and ourselves because without Christ we are evil. Furthermore their line of thinking should also include hate of the cross because it was an evil tool created by man that Jesus had to suffer for because of our evil… So it would be a bad thing to remember and not a beautiful thing. Anyways enough about them. I greatly appreciate your comments. I will check your site out as well! God bless.

    ~me

  3. This is one of the quotes I tried to find the other night. It is truly the greatest joy to love the Lord. He whom I love has given me everlasting hope.

    “They took the body down from the cross and one of the few rich men among the first Christians obtained permission to bury it in a rock tomb in his garden; the Romans setting a military guard lest there should be some riot and attempt to recover the body. There was once more a natural symbolism in these natural proceedings; it was well that the tomb should be sealed with all the secrecy of ancient eastern sepulture and guarded by the authority of the Caesars. For in that second cavern the whole of that great and glorious humanity which we call antiquity was gathered up and covered over; and in that place it was buried. It was the end of a very great thing called human history; the history that was merely human. The mythologies and the philosophies were buried there, the gods and the heroes and the sages. In the great Roman phrase, they had lived. But as they could only live, so they could only die; and they were dead.

    On the third day the friends of Christ coming at daybreak to the place found the grave empty and the stone rolled away. In varying ways they realised the new wonder; but even they hardly realised that the world had died in the night. What they were looking at was the first day of a new creation, with a new heaven and a new earth; and in a semblance of the gardener God walked again in the garden, in the cool not of the evening but the dawn.”

    ~ G. K. Chesterton

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