Too Much Grace?

How much sin does God's grace cover? Can God's grace be abused? Yikes! Why in the world would I even attempt to write about these things? Well, I don't know. What I do know, is that before God healed and softened my heart, these questions wouldn't have come up. I definitely grew up believing God had a dry eraser and a board, and that he wrote my "really bad sins" in red, my "not too bad sins" in black and my "every day sins" in, um, I don't know, maybe brown. I believed the law still saved. I'll admit it...I believed there were some sins that would keep you out of heaven. I knew forgiveness was for everyone, but I think I had the idea in my heart that if you had found Christ, you just shouldn't mess up. 

Well, now I think about that and I just shake my myself. What a narrow minded view of the Cross! I have been reading Hebrews the past couple weeks, digging, seeking, trying to hear God as if I don't have any preconceived a clean slate. Now, if you are sitting on the edge of your chair, waiting for my amazing revelation on these things...just sit back. I don't have any. (ha!) I do have some, shall we say, new thoughts on this whole matter of God's grace and my responsibility therein. (as in new to me!) 

All these questions and talk of grace only leaves me with one picture...the cross. Everything, I say, everything I believe about God MUST be centered on the cross. If that's the case and if I'm willing to look up at him hanging there, to really look, then the question that starts to nag at me is how could this not be enough? How could any sin be left untouched by this awful, horrendous display of sin thrown onto a sinless man? How could that not be enough? I find myself thrust at the foot of that cross grabbing tightly to complete forgiveness, not pushing it away. I want to wrap my arms around that cross and hold on tight to it because I know...I know...that I am lost without it. I walk in the shadow of the cross, and everyone who believes walks in that shadow. The cross IS the grace of God, and no sin is untouched by the cross.

Let's be real. Following Jesus is hard. It's hard because when he showed up on the scene, he took the crutch, and told me he was my new law. I cannot follow a rule book and be saved anymore. To think I can is foolish. I cannot put him in my box and say "this is what it will look like if you follow Jesus". Every heart is different. Every story is unique. Why? Well, Jesus makes it all about relationship and fellowship. Relationship cannot be defined by a set of rules. Real relationship will have ups and down, bends and twists. It's easier to make rules and demand everyone follow them. It's easier...and it doesn't require devotion. I can follow rules without caring. I can be good on the outside while the inside is dark. That's why the teachers of Jesus's day hated him. He demanded more than their "acts of worship" and they didn't want to give more. Jesus requires more than an act. He requires devotion. Devotion means following. Devotion means being whatever he asks me to be, following whatever command he gives. Can we "act" like Christians and not be followers...sure we can.

I think when we ask questions about how much sin is okay and if we can abuse the grace of God, we are forgetting. We are forgetting that really, no sin is okay. We are forgetting that we all abuse the grace of God. My sin is dark and ugly and hung Jesus on that cross just like the next person. The only way not to "abuse" the grace of God would be not to mess up..and I cannot not do that. So, really, this conversation is about how much of God's grace I'm willing to accept. Am I willing to stand before my God and admit that I will never be right or good, no matter how much I try and that I desperately need his grace...all of it? When I accept all of that grace, I begin to turn from the dark, wanting nothing to do with it because it separates me from my Savior and I can think of nothing worse than being separated from him. He is my life, my everything. How much sin is okay? None! How much abuse of God's grace is okay? None! If I really believe that, then maybe I won't try to play God myself, determining who has gone to far, done to much to be forgiven. If I really believe that, then I will look at the next person with humility and say "he forgave me and if he can forgive me then he can forgive you".  If I believe that, I will cling to the cross, walk in it's shadow, follow Christ's commands and offer hope to matter what.    

"The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death so that we may serve the living God!" Hebrews 9:13-14


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