I continue to learn the truth of grace as the layers of legalism peel away. Grace is so deep, so lavishly given, I don’t believe the depths will ever be plunged. And even as we experience “utopia” in heaven, I have a feeling all the praise will be in response to His scandalous gift…over and over and over…throughout eternity.
If you haven’t understood the freedom of living in Christ, you may be walking in self-righteous piety and expecting all rules to be “kept” as you carefully examine those around you. And I say that from a place of experience. It really can’t be helped. If you are dutifully behaving before devotedly loving, you will be looking at everyone else to be sure they get it right too. You may have a list of rules you believe are the “proof” of salvation and quickly recite them in your “gospel” presentation. But it’s not truly the good news you’re sharing. It’s another millstone being wrapped around your captive’s neck.
I’m learning more about grace. He keeps taking me to deeper and deeper levels. And please understand, that’s not a pious thing. It comes from a place of being in desperate need of forgiveness. As the dark, hidden corners of my heart become more and more exposed to His Light, I see how gracious He has been to forgive me from the foundation of the earth.
From the time I burned out from religious duty to today — this new understanding of grace — it’s been sixteen years. Sixteen years of many lessons learned. Much obedience, much teaching, much loss, much hurt, much misunderstanding, much sacrifice, much pain, and now, most recently, much rebellion.
Remember, I was a “goody-goody”. I never rebelled. Now my parents may think I did, but they were much “goodier” than me. I must say, there is a reason teenagers rebel. Working through what they’ve been taught, or not taught, causes trial and error and growth and hopefully, eventually, maturity. I did mature in many ways, by the grace of God. And I thank God for my parents and their strict rules, for I was saved much heartache. But I didn’t go through the “usual teenage angst”. And now, I’m learning, it’s not so pretty this side of forty. Okay, forty-five. (Shoot. Forty-seven. For a couple more months. 👿 )
My CR sisters have begun calling me a rebellious little sh**. And I have been. Many of them have begun to learn what it means to live with Christian discipline. I am learning what it means to be loved, for even a sinner such as I. The pendulum has swung from one extreme to the other…and I’m getting a new glimpse of grace.
Do you love Jesus? We talk so much about how He loves us, but I have found if one hasn’t fallen in love with Him, then it may not be understood what all you’ve been forgiven. I learned of the love of Jesus from a very early age. I sang about His love for years and years before I understood what it meant. I honestly wondered about the verse, “We love because He first loved us.” Really?! Did He REALLY love ME?? That didn’t make sense to me, for I knew of rules and duty before I understood His love and grace. Love was conditioned upon my keeping the rules.
But now…I’m beginning to see His mercy, His grace, His love…it’s deeper than all my sins:
“Therefore I tell you,
her sins, which were many, are forgiven,
thus she loved much;
but the one who is forgiven little loves little.”
Only sinners are in need of a Savior.