Thursday, August 29, 2013

A little grace

There is a song on the radio right now which has lyrics that I really appreciate. The line is the bridge and goes “My sin has been erased. I’ll never be the same”. They remind me of another powerful bridge in a great worship song called Here I Am To Worship, which says “I’ll never know, how much it costs. To see my sin, up on that cross”. To me, both lyrics are reminders of just what I have been given, by grace, from my savior. Something so powerful that I will never again be the same person, the same hopeless wreck of a man. But all of this got me thinking, specifically about whether or not I truly grasped what it meant to be saved by grace.

I began to work around in my head, a metaphor that would help explain what it all meant. I needed something very powerful but something that would be understandable, especially something relative, so I could imagine and truly fathom this awesome gift. As I pondered on this I realized that most likely, very few Christians truly understand what it means to be saved by grace. To be fair, I’m not sure there is anything else in life that could really come close to comparing so how would anyone know except from reading the Bible, searching their hearts and asking God to reveal this fundamental truth. No other event in life could ever compare to something so earth shattering as what Jesus did for you and I and yet, we throw around the term of being saved by grace but we don’t seem to live it out.

So, do this for me. As you read this, I want you to imagine that you are sitting in a chair. It is no ordinary chair however. You are sitting in the chair at the prison for those who are about to be executed. You are on death row and you have about 5 minutes before you are injected with the lethal dose that will kill you. You are strapped down completely including your ankles, your thighs, your waist, your chest, your wrists and across your forehead. You have also been blindfolded; you are immobile and blind. There is no escaping this, no stay of execution. You are guilty as charged and the penalty is death. As you sit there, waiting for the inevitable, you are fully aware that this is warranted. There really are no arguments to be had for you as you deserve this punishment. You wonder where you will go after the injection but you already know that answer and while it scares you, there is nothing you can do. Your eternity is sealed.

You begin to think about the injection. Will it be instant or will it take a few minutes? Will there be a little pain or a lot of? You sit there, strapped down, unable to move, anticipating the prick of the needle. Finally you hear the medical examiner declare that it is time and without so much as a warning, the needle is in your arm. You feel the pain of the shot and you tense up, hoping you can fight it, then your body releases as something takes over.

At first you are confused because this shouldn’t be pleasant, but within seconds you can’t help but realize that it feels as if you have been injected with liquid sunshine. For the first time in your life you feel joy like you have never experienced, you feel hope and you feel love. This euphoria is beyond anything you can explain, it is something that completely takes over every sense of your being. A smile forms on your face and you feel as if you could fly.

You open your eyes to a new day. You realize you should be dead but you’re not and instead you are very alive. You struggle to grasp what was in that syringe but there really are no good explanations. You have been given new life, a second chance. You know you don’t deserve it, you deserve instead to be punished, to be put to death for everything you have done, but instead, for some unknown reason, you were spared.

This is what Jesus did for you and me. He gave us a second chance. He was the unknown substance in the syringe. He took our place in that chair and in His death and resurrection he filled us with a hope that only comes from knowing what He has done for us. And He did all of this because of His great love for us. If you have ever struggled to grasp what it means to be saved by grace, know that Jesus did something for you that you truly cannot repay, you didn’t earn and you didn’t deserve. And yet, that single act of love should propel us forward with a similar love. That same love can be shared and Jesus asks us to do exactly that.

Sit back and close your eyes and imagine what it would be like to know you were seconds from death.

Now, open your eyes and see the people around you who are awaiting that same sentence because they have no idea what Jesus did for them. These people are on death row and they are living without hope. Let’s spread a little grace.

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