But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.
(Ephesians 2: 4-9)
In my investigation of spiritual life, I have found that the concept of grace is the one huge difference between Christianity and all other religions and philosophies. When you think about it in legal terms that most of us have dealt with, a speeding ticket is a well-known drag. You are driving along enjoying yourself and not thinking about the fact that you have accelerated to 80mph in a 65mph zone. A state trooper doing his job radars you and soon you see the lights in your rear view window and the familiar paranoia and adrenalin rush begins. Now, if the policeman stops you, generally you are going to get that ticket and pay out the nose for your mistake. But, what if he is really having a moment of complete identification with your excuse and he says, “OK, I will give you a warning, but watch your speed and drive safely.” Now, that is grace. Pure and simple, you deserved to get the ticket, but he forgave your mistake and let you go on your way without paying for it. That is what God does for us when we ask for forgiveness from our sins.
We are guilty of numerous sins on a daily basis: lies, cheating, cursing people on the highway or at work, saying rude things to people, or the much more heinous things that most of us feel are the “real sins.” You know, adultery, murder, robbery, etc. But do you know what Jesus said about things like this? Check this out.
You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ but I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
(Matt. 5: 27, 28)
So, the actual sin of the act is in the heart even before you commit the deed. The simple act of checking out the woman or man who goes by is not what I mean. What takes place in your thoughts after this? The fantasy begins and you let it go without doing anything about it. According to Jesus, that is the same as physically committing the act. If that is true, and it has to be if Jesus said it, then we are guilty of violating one of God’s commandments. But, if we immediately ask forgiveness from Him for going to that mental bedroom, then he forgives us.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
(1 John 1: 9)
Not only does He forgive us, he cleanses us. Since we are humans and still live in unredeemed bodies, we will blow it. The attitude to develop is when you know you have done something to offend the Lord, immediately go to Him. Don’t wait, or it will fester and your enemy, the devil will use it against you.
Be angry, and do not sin, do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil
(Ephesians 4, 26,27)
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.
(1 Peter 5: 8, 9)
Grace is a free gift, an escape clause from a huge debt. None of us can satisfy a perfect and holy God by our deeds. We could never meditate enough, chant enough, fast enough, pray enough, give enough to charity or feed enough hungry people to approach the Lord of all universes. We cannot attain God Consciousness” or “Nirvana” (not the rock band) on our own. It is not about you. You cannot become acceptable to the Lord by your good works, only by His free gift. A gift must be accepted and opened by the receiver to complete its’ function. He has reached to us by walking in our world and paying the ultimate price for our redemption. His death on the cross and subsequent resurrection defeated death and the grave. Accept His gift of grace, walk with Him and talk with Him, become a friend of God.