"I have been crucified with Christ; it is no
longer I who live, but Christ lives in me;
and the life which I now live in the flesh I
live by faith in the Son of God, who loved
me and gave Himself for me. I do not set
aside the grace of God; for if righteousness
comes through the law, then Christ died
in vain." - (Galatians 2:20-21)
We have been studying the book of Galatians in church, and this morning our pastor preached an awesome, thought provoking sermon on the grace of God. Grace that includes anyone and everyone. God's love is all encompassing. He loves the poor, the sick, the sinful, the outcasts. He does not have cliques. He does not play favorites. No one gets picked last for His team.
It was easy for me to let my mind drift back to painful childhood memories of being the last one to be picked for a team, and then forward to more recent memories of feeling excluded by cliques in a church I attended several years ago. What was not so easy, was to acknowledge the times I turned my back on someone for fear of what others would think, the times I was judgmental and showed no grace at all, the times I've thought I was better than someone else.
It cut like a knife to hear pastor say that when we think we are better than someone else, we start acting like them and even worse. For many years, even as a Christian, I was very legalistic. I never quite grasped that being a Christian means living out God's grace to the people He puts in our path.
The purpose of the law was to show us our sinfulness and how impossible it is for any one of us to keep it in it's entirety. The law cannot love you or do anything for you. Only Jesus can do that. We all need Jesus, and when we put our trust in Him, that relationship with the law is broken. Righteousness can not be gained by following a set of rules. If it could, Jesus would have died in vain. But His death was not in vain. It had meaning and purpose, and brought me life. Because of His death, I have been set free, and you can be set free too.
If you are reading this and think it is too late for you, that is a lie from the pit of hell. No sin is too bad to be forgiven. If you were the only person on the face of this earth, Jesus would still have come and died for you. All you have to do is reach out and accept His gift of salvation.
There are no Baptists, or Methodists, or Catholics in Heaven. Only people who have put their trust in Christ!
"...by grace you have been saved through faith,
and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
not of works, lest anyone should boast"