Grace, grace, God’s grace, grace that will pardon and cleanse within. Grace, grace, God’s grace, grace that is greater than all our sins.
I have sung this song, and read all about God’s grace. However, it wasn’t until about 6 months ago that I actually started to really understand God’s grace. That’s weird though, right? For someone who has been a Christian for years, grown up in church – did the whole youth group, Bible study, church every Sunday thing, sang songs about God’s grace, read stories about God’s grace, I should have had a better understanding of it, but I really had no clue. He was ready to humble me.
At His perfect timing, about 6 months ago, God stopped me in my tracks and revealed to me that I didn’t understand what His grace was. Yes, I knew that grace was getting something that I didn’t deserve, but I never really thought I was ‘that bad’ that I really needed His grace as much as the songs we would sing in church would portray. I wasn’t like this person or that person. I didn’t do what he did, or she did. Little did I realize that it didn’t matter what others saw, God saw straight into my heart and thoughts, and let me just tell you, I was no different than anyone I had labelled as ‘bad’.
God very quickly started to show me the state of my heart. Something that can sting so bad, but you know is needed if you want to grow in your walk with the Lord. In my heart, I would look at people and quietly judge them.
Wow, he did that?
Did you hear what she said?
Can you believe they did that?
I would hear about people turning their lives around for God. Walking away from their old ways, and turning to Him – and as much as I wanted to be happy for them, again in my heart, I was often skeptical of this change they had gone through.
Well, God had enough of that – and I’m so glad He did.
I started to learn very quickly, through devotionals, sermons and friendships that God sees us as we are – the filth, our mistakes, our thought life, our actions, our motives. For some people it’s obvious and outwards, for others it’s something that we can hide so well, that only we can see. He sees all of those things – He knew we would betray Him, betray others, make ourselves the focus and yet He chose to die for us. Why? We don’t even deserve it. Six months ago He showed me that He transforms lives. He forgives the worst of sinners and gives them a second chance, third chance – and doesn’t stop. I started to realize that not only did I want to receive God’s grace, but I wanted to (and needed to) extend that same grace to others.
When I first got to Africa, I started off in Tanzania at a VOH leadership conference. The pastor read us two passages. And you know when you’ve read a passage so many times, but then you read it again and God speaks to you so clearly – more than before? That’s what happened.
“Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves or greedy people or drunkards, the abusive, or cheat people – none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God.
And then the best part…
Some of you (hello! all of us..) were once like that, BUT you were cleansed, made holy, made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.
“Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past. Behold, I will do something NEW, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:18-19
MAN, those verses hit me! Is grace really that simple? God convicts our hearts, we see how sinful we are, we repent and ask God to forgive and cleanse us, He does that and then makes all things new.
It doesn’t matter that I can see that person’s particular sin, and no one can really see mine. We’re all the same. Sinners. Sinners that live lives that should cause God to turn His back on us, but instead He runs to us and forgives us over and over again with a love and compassion that we will never truly understand. I love that we, the worst of sinners, can call on His name and He will make us right with Him. I love that He turns our messes into victories, and I love that He makes all things NEW.