Today as I was studying the Scriptures, a passage that is all too familiar struck a new chord with me. Over the past couple years God has been pressing deeply within my heart an understanding of Grace, deeper than I have ever understood Grace at any point of my life! I have been amazed at how many times throughout the Scriptures where Grace is extended through faith and faith alone. You see, many teach that in order to be saved you must repent of all sin and turn from it, which sounds awesome but is completely unattainable in this life! If it were possible, there would be no need of a Savior in the first place! Jesus became sin and killed sin’s power in our lives when He died upon that cross. Do we still sin? Absolutely! There is not a single person that has ever lived that has conquered sin’s grip and completely stopped sinning. Not a single person except Jesus! Yet, being perfect, He took all the sin of the world onto His shoulders and killed it’s control once and for all. The only way we can defeat sin in our life is to accept in faith what Jesus did and know that He was raised from the dead, leaving sin in the grave, so that those of us who believe in Him can live eternally with Him. Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? How do you think this guy felt:
Luke 23:40-43 – But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And he said to him,“Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
A criminal whose sin ran so deep it led to him being sentenced to death, yet in one magnificent moment he realized who Jesus really was (believed in Him), admitted that he deserved the punishment being giving for his own sin, and simply asked Jesus to remember him in paradise…to which Jesus remarkably tells this criminal he will be with Jesus upon death in paradise! Grace given with no strings attached! Each of us must simply admit we are sinful and lost without a Savior, believe in Jesus, that He is who He said He was, and we will be saved! Our obedience to His will and plan for our lives can only come after we believe in Him. There is no amount of cleaning up that we can ever do to be worthy of this free gift of salvation. It is free for anyone who believes!
So I ask you, what do you believe? Or better yet, in who are you placing your eternal destiny? You may not understand or even believe some of the stories you have read about or heard from the Old Testament, and you may have some legitimate questions that you want answered, but Jesus said it best here:
John 14:6 – Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
I know that many people try to offer up formulas or ways to be good enough, but Jesus made it so very simple that many will miss it looking for a deeper way, a harder way to live in peace forever with the Savior. But it really is that easy! Now, there will still be turmoil in our lives once we accept Jesus as our Savior. Jesus addresses this as well:
John 16:33 -I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
You see, this time we have on earth is fleeting, a blip on the radar of eternity! We will have tribulation (trouble or turmoil) while we are in this world, yet that trouble should never define us, it strengthens us as we realize that Jesus has overcome this world of sin and corruption, and we are continually growing in our reliance upon Him as His peace surpasses all understanding in the midst of the trial:
Philippians 4:7 -And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
It is hard to comprehend, but the peace Paul writes about in Philippians 4:7 and Jesus speaks of in John 16:33 and also extends to the criminal next to Him in Luke 23:43 is available to us as well if we will simply believe in Jesus! So, what is your next step? If your next step is to believe, I pray you will simply pray to Jesus something like this:
“Jesus, I know I am a sinner in need of your grace and peace. I believe that you came to earth from heaven and died for my sin and was raised to life so that we could live eternally with you in heaven, and have peace here on earth as we become your follower. Thank you for you amazing love for me, in Jesus name, Amen!”
If you just said that simple prayer or something like it, and believe it in your heart, then welcome to the amazing life filled with grace and peace! Please reach out to me or a local community of believers and let someone know of your decision! We are not meant to navigate this faith life alone…we need to be in relationship with God and with others! If you need help with next steps, or just want to share your incredible transformation story with me, click “Contact Rob” at the top of the page and lets start a conversation! If you know someone who needs to hear this message of grace, please share! You never know how God will use a few words to alter the course of someone’s life!
I am believing that God is going to do some amazing things in 2015 and God wants you to be part of His family changing the world through grace and peace! Happy New Year!!!