The word "grace" is the cornerstone of the Christian life. We are saved through faith, by grace, through the good work of Jesus. But why do we experience the gift of grace? What does it actually mean and is it actually a free gift? Understand the beauty of grace in this episode of Napkin Theology.
- I've always wondered what draws me to God in the first place?
- Are we supposed to want to be on the God side of the canyon? I mean, if we go back to Adam and Eve, God knew at the very beginning that they were going to sin, that sin was going to be introduced, and that we as a whole, would be set apart from Him. So are we always supposed to want to be on that side?
- So why do some get it [grace] and some don't?
Pastor Mike's Answer:
These are awesome questions. The theologian of me wants to go crazy with answering these questions, but I'm going to keep it simple.
So we've talked about before this idea that we're separated from God. One of the things that theologians point out, almost all theologians, is that people here are separated from God. The separation, as I said earlier, early on in your life, you have no idea there's a separation there. This is all you experience, this is all you know. You don't even realize there's anything missing.
But you're separated from God by sin. And sin sin is, simply put, a willful transgression of a known law of God. Sin is knowing what I should do and not doing it or knowing what I shouldn't do and doing it anyway. So that's what sin is. But this sin separates us from God.
We see this in the Garden of Eden where Adam and Eve, they violated God's law, they violated the contract, the social contract they had with God, which was eat from anything, the whole garden you want, just avoid one tree. Somehow we need a way to get ourselves to God, because that's the only way we're really going to find peace.
And Jesus became that way for us when He died on the cross. He became the final sacrifice, the perfect sacrifice, once for all sins. So we now had a pathway to get to God. The Bible says, if it weren't for the goodness of the Holy Spirit, I would never have realized my need for God, my need for Jesus, my need for forgiveness. But once I realize it, I then have a choice to make.
God doesn't make the choice for me. He simply lets me realize that I need to make the choice. The way you ask it, are we always supposed to want to be on that side? The answer to that question is yes. We're always supposed to want to be on that side. The answer to the question, “do we always want to be on that side?” is no, we don't always want to be on that side with God.
I think that human beings are broken. And look, I'll say something not a lot of pastors will say, but sin can be fun for a while. And so people will run in sin because they're having their fun. They're so in their wild oaks, they're doing their thing. They're just enjoying their life, living my best life.
But what they don't realize is that sin is perfectly designed to kill you. And that's what it's going to do. It's going to slowly bring death into your life. And the more it slowly brings death into your life, then the more you want to be on the other side with God. But some people require getting awfully close to the end of that rope before they realize they need to take advantage of this gospel and get over here.
So God in His grace allows me to realize my need for Him. But that's not the end of grace. It's the beginning of grace, because God gives me the grace to realize, to look for Him. Then I find Jesus, and then God gives me the grace to actually try and live for Him. So now I'm moving toward God.
By walking across this [The Cross], I'm trying to walk with Jesus, the ultimate goal. And grace allows this. Grace allows me to desire God. I can reach a point here where I actually desire being with God, and I desire Him above these other things. That doesn't mean I don't ever want to step back in the other direction. It doesn't mean I always want to be right here. But what it does mean is there's a part of me, deep inside of me that now follows God.
Not because I have to, but because I want to. It's grace that takes me through every one of the steps. Grace is defined as unmerited favor: something God does for me that I did not deserve. I did not deserve to even realize that I needed Him. I did not deserve to be able to walk alongside and on the truth of Jesus. I did not deserve to be able to actually live a holy life because I wasn't even trying or considering it back here. And I certainly don't deserve to stand close to and have a close, desired relationship with God.
But grace allows all those things to happen and applies at every step along the way. I think some give up. I realize my need for God. Those are your choices. I can receive Him and accept Him, or I can rebel against Him and say "no, that's just a weird feeling. I don't need God." But when you're in this part of your walk here, this is not easy.
I would love to tell you that once you receive grace every step along the walk is going to be great and wonderful and rainbows and unicorns all day long. But that's just not the way it works. Walking with God, there are times when you don't want to follow God, because not following God would be more profitable, would be more fun. There are times you don't want to, but you have to choose to.
All of this is a matter of giving up control. Every step is a matter of giving up control to the God who wants to walk alongside us and guide us and have us surrendered. The Biblical word is surrendered to Him.