We visited a church this morning and I was humbled, yet again. Yes, I am a Christian. I try to live my life in a way that is pleasing to God. I don't drink. I don't smoke. I don't do drugs. I try to say pleasing and uplifting things. Yes, in a way, non-Christians (and Christians) can look at my life and think it's perfect. Wanna know something? It's not perfect! I mess up a lot! I've failed tests; I yell at my family; I break things; I sometimes say hurtful things. I'm not proud of these things at all.
In general, most people think they are good people. The preacher talked us through the 10 Commandments and told us to keep track of the ones we haven't broken. You can find these in Exodus 20, but if you need a refresher, here they are:
1. Don't have any other gods before Him.
2. Don't make any graven images (idols).
3. Don't take the Lord's name in vain.
4. Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.
5. Honor your father and mother.
6. Don't murder.
7. Don't commit adultery.
8. Don't steal.
9. Don't lie.
10. Don't covet.
I failed. Miserably. In order to get a passing grade, you must have received a 6 out of 10. Let's just say I didn't even make a 50%. Bob Russell states, "When we compare our lives with the straight edge of the law, we realize how sinful we are!" So true. I realized this in church this morning going through those commandments.
Thinking about how I've acted in my past humbles me. I can't go back and undo any of my sin. In fact, I have a terminal problem, and it's going to kill me.
Romans 6:23 says,
"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
I deserve eternal damnation. So does each and every person. It doesn't matter how many rules we keep. It doesn't matter how many laws we don't break. We will not get into heaven just by doing good things! You might be thinking, "Well, dang! That really sucks!" But I have good news for you! God made it SO much easier on us to be able to spend eternity with Him, rather than having to keep a running tally of all the good things you've done.
God sent his son to earth to be perfect and to die for me and you! Jesus lived all 30-some years on this earth completely sin free. Then He died a slow, painful death on a cross. He took our punishment for us. Because of this, God gives us the gift of grace.
Grace = God's riches at Christ's expense. (I learned that today. :])
Grace is receiving something that you don't deserve. Well, clearly in Romans 6:23, we don't deserve eternal life with God. I have to be perfect to stand in the presence of God. Only through Christ's death are we made pure and blameless. What an amazing gift! Do you know of anyone else who would send their son to die for you and take the blame for something you did? I sure don't.
I owe my life to Christ. He took my place on that cross. I should be going to Hell because of my sin, but instead, I have received the Grace that God offers to every single person.
I try to live my life in a way that honors God because that's the very least I can do for a man who died for me. I no longer choose to be a slave to sin, but I choose to be a slave to Christ! I am eternally grateful for the gift of Salvation. I'm grateful for the gift of grace.
I'm not perfect. But I know the One who is. He wants more than my rule-keeping. He wants my heart.