Thursday, November 29, 2018

GRACE IS FREE, BUT NOT CHEAP!

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.” (2 Corinthians 8:9).

But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.”  (Hebrews 2:9).

 Grace was expensive for Jesus.  It cost him his life, so he could be the sacrifice for our sins. Paul tells us that grace is a gift from God (Romans 3:24-26).  Some believe grace needs a hand, our hand in supplementing partial payment for our wrong doings.  Some believe that our obedience is our payment as we work toward perfection. Most recognize they will not reach that noble goal, but their works will hopefully bring them close.  Whatever gap is left is where and when they look for God’s grace to step in and make up the difference.

 If that is a true teaching, how many points does heaven require to enter its gates?  Let’s say an individual is very zealous and wants to get as close as possible so his assurance of salvation will be high, his obedience will be noteworthy, and God will not be burdened with a large amount of grace bestowed!

He prays at each meal vocally.  He prays before going to bed: 300 points each time.

He attends class, Sunday’s two worships, and Wednesday night: 400 points each time.

He teaches a Sunday morning class: 500 points each class.

He does not curse nor use profanity: 1,000 points each day he succeeds.

He treats his parents and siblings with respect: 800 points each day.

He studies his Bible every day: 2,000 points each day.

He memorizes large portions of scripture: 5,000 points with each new passage.

He keeps himself pure: 10,000 points each day.

He marries a faithful Christian woman: 5,000 points.

He has private Bible studies with folks that are not believers: 1,000 points each.

He baptizes some that he teaches: 25,000 points for each new convert.

He is a good Christian father: 25,000 points each day.

He is a very faithful husband: 25,000 points each day.

He served as a deacon for 15 years: 30,000 points for each year served.

He is serving as an elder: 100,000 points each year with an extra 25,000 for each meeting attended.

He is honest in his business affairs: 35,000 points each day.

He attends every evening during a gospel meeting: 75,000 points for each one attended.

He goes on mission trip overseas: 100,000 for each trip.

He works with the local soup kitchen: 5,000 points each time he serves.

He drives the church bus to pick up members: 500 points for each time.

He serves on several church committees: 100 points for each, and 100 each meeting.

Does fill in preaching: 75,000 points each time.

Leads singing when needed: 1,000 points each time.

Presides at Lord’s table from time to time: 1,000 points each time.

Good example for his children who are faithful: 25,000 points for each child.

Saved several marriages through counseling: 150,000 points for each.

For all other acts of faithfulness: 100,000 points for each day.

Judgment day!  He comes with a tremendous number of points.  Yet he knows that in spite of all his accomplishment, he has not been perfect.  However, he is certain that he is close and that he will not need much grace to fill his gap.  The Lord announces that the amount he needed was (10^)^(10^100)!  What he has amassed is like one drop of water compared with all the water in the rest of the world! 

What is he to do?  There is no way he can imagine what is expected much less attempt to reach it in one lifetime.  If he lived longer than Methuselah, his success would still be laughable and so incomplete.

Not one sin has been paid off by all his good works! Although his good works are appreciated, they are worthless as a payment.  Why?  Because Jesus has already paid his debt.  Grace has already covered his imperfections.  Grace is God’s gift to those who will come in faith to follow Jesus!