What a wonderful gift God has given to us–His Grace. As a child I would hear messages which included the word grace and the definition given would be something like God’s unmerited favor , or God’s love in action towards men who merited the opposite of love. I would hear these definitions, but really not grasp in any practical way, what it meant to me. Then one day His grace revealed its truth to my heart, not just my head.
One day, many years ago, I was struggling in my walk with the Lord. I was faithful in my Bible reading, prayer, church attendance (in fact I was the Pastor’s wife!) But I still struggled in accepting God’s love and trying to sort out His expectations of me. In my dark hours, I would call out to the Lord, asking for His help.
Unexpectedly, His help came in the form of our friend, Pastor Gary Matsdorf’s teaching on grace. His definition of grace “God doing for you what you could not do for yourself” brought a powerful revelation to me. During this time, the Holy Spirit revealed to me just how desperate I was for the redemption power of God. I had received Jesus as my Savior as a nine year old. I knew I was “saved”. But He revealed that my old sin nature was as dark and deceitful as what/who the greatest sin or sinner had ever done. Due to my upbringing and personality, I was (in the world’s) eyes, a decent human being. I knew that I did not meet up to His standard of perfection or holiness, but somehow I think I thought unconsciously, I only needed some of the work on the cross to save me, not all of it. When He showed me that my sin nature, if left unchecked I could equal a Jeffery Dahlmer (serial killer) or any thief etc. I was set free. I did not have to be “good enough” to be adopted into the family. By accepting His finished work on the cross I was freed from that struggle. It was a defining moment in my Christian walk. I felt free, accepted and loved. The truth of Romans 8:7, “for the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” became a reality for me.
This is definitely something we have to receive by faith. I more fully understand the unmerited favor now, but I so appreciate Gary’s definition and how the Lord used it to bring freedom into my life, in a way I desperately needed. At the time, I did not know what I needed. What a relief, God did. He brought the answer to me. He will bring any answer you need, as you call out and wait for Him….it is why we call it a relationship, not a religion! I am so glad Jesus saves us from ourselves, by His grace.