Grace is a concept easy to accept upon becoming a Christian but more difficult to believe as we begin our walk with Christ. We know how much Jesus has done for us. We know how our prior condition was not only harmful to ourselves but to others around us. We know that the promise of eternal peace and joy in Heaven is real. We know that the struggle with our sinful nature is ever-present and ongoing. However, after “knowing” all of this, many Christians fail to move. They feel like to move is to open the door to making the wrong decision or going in the wrong way or hearing the wrong thing from God. We are paralyzed by fear, suffocated by hypotheticals and worst-case scenarios. We don’t want to mess up. We don’t want to make a mistake. We don’t want to lose what God has offered us.
But while all of these feelings are natural and justifiable, where is the heart of the Gospel? Where is the cross? Where is the resurrection? Where is Jesus?
When you met Jesus, did you meet a savior who sought opportunities to punish wrongdoers, or who brought healing and forgiveness? Did you meet a savior who set traps for people to fall into or who was the first to reach out and touch the unclean and unworthy?
The tragedy of the Christian is the fear of making mistakes. While the Gospel of Jesus Christ MUST establish a new heart and a new way of life, must seek to honor God and His commands and must never tolerate sinful behavior, there is still grace. There MUST be grace! There is still understanding. There is still the authority of the living God to cover a multitude of sins by the righteousness and sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
The mark of a Christian is how often and willing we are to allow God’s authority and glory to be revealed in us. This often comes by the action of faith. The faith of a Christian is believing that the living God is real and is with us. The God of Creation commands us to move, to work, to live, all for His glory. If we love God and choose to serve Him with all that we are and all that we have, mistakes no longer become a paralyzing fear. Fear of making mistakes is predicated on an expectation of perfection. Punishment is associated with fear, and if we believe in Jesus, we know the punishment was His and is not ours. We will of course make mistakes. We will fall. However, the God of Creation has never demanded perfection from us, but has desired for us to choose Him first. Our salvation does not hinge upon our perfection. Our salvation rests on if we believe in Jesus, who embodies perfection. Faith in Jesus allows us to try and fail, to move and to fall and to reveal a Father who loves that we believe.
There is a powerful unity among those who profess faith in Jesus Christ. Followers of Jesus find a home in knowing that each and every person is walking on the same path that starts at the cross and ends in his kingdom. However, at the cross we do not just find a team, but the life of Jesus Christ alone sacrificed for the entire world. We find a Lord and Savior who unites his church through faith in him, but we are also given the power and commandment to take his Holy Spirit out into the world so that they too can find him. At the foot of the cross we do find a family of believers and a body to become a part of. However, this family ought never confine or prevent us from reaching into the world of those yet to be grafted in. Our mission is to find our home with Christ through the fellowship of believers, yet be fully aware of our necessity to go forth into the world in order to bring others back home. Each and every person must be brought into this faith in Jesus Christ.
Regardless of the point in a person’s life at which they met the Lord and submitted to the work of the cross, in each testimony is a point where they did not have faith in Jesus Christ. Therefore, the one thing that all of us share is that at one point we were all strangers to Christ, even though he knew us from the beginning. Every testimony begins with our separation from Christ as a result of our sin. Thus, as we come into faith in Jesus Christ, we can never adopt a tone of the privileged preaching to the under-privileged. At the foot of the cross we all receive grace, we all receive mercy and we all receive forgiveness.
This is the gospel that must be taken to the furthest corners of the world and unleashed in healing. For those overwhelmed and transformed by that experience at the cross there is only one truth. Jesus Christ is the Lord. Our place in his presence is leveled at the foot of the cross upon which he gave his life for us. In his presence there are only two groups: reunited children and children yet to be reunited. Either way, both groups consist of children of the same heavenly Father who desires all of them be brought back home. In the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ we find our family, only family because we share a common Father. In this Father we find our new life, our new way and the new brothers and sisters, unified because we have all been lost but are now found.