I think deep down I struggle with the idea of grace. I want to be able to earn grace because at that point, when I don’t get it, I at least would understand why. Yet, I see the imperfections of my life and see all the things I have done wrong and the message from God is still clear; I am loved.
So we have an infinite and Holy God. Imperfection cannot even stand to be in the presence of this God who is so Holy and perfect. Just as darkness cannot stand in the presence of light because light chases the dark away, imperfection cannot continue to exist in the presence of perfection. Yet we are called “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16, NIV). In our imperfection, we are called to approach the throne room of God…. and with confidence nonetheless. I have trouble thinking this into my reality as a thing I should be doing.
As far as understanding goes, I understand in my head that Jesus loves me and that He died on the cross to save me from my sins. I understand the depth of the sacrifice that Jesus made. I understand the categorical difference between Jesus as the difference between every other religion. I understand all this, I even understand the idea and concept of grace itself. Yet, getting the heart to catch up with the head is one of the biggest challenges with love. I can think through love a great deal easier than I can relent and embrace the love of God.
At the end of Saving Private Ryan, after weeks of bloody torturous fighting in order to find Private Ryan, played by Matt Damon, to get him home, Tom Hank’s character Captain John Miller gave the ultimate sacrifice to save Private Ryan. In a touching moment, Captain Miller character gave his final words: “Earn this.”
Yet, who can say that they earned someone else to die for them? Who can say that their life is better than someone who would lay down his own life for someone else? More importantly, who can say we earned the death of a Savior? Yet God, through his grace and love gives it to us all the same. Beyond our ability to deserve it, Christ died for us.
We have to wrestle with grace and with the love of God. Love takes home in the heart instead of the brain. Intellectually I can explain the logic of love, but there is a point in which love stops being logical and starts being an act of divine grace. We become overwhelmed by the love that God has for us until we fixate on that saving grace that God provided. And then we come face to face with our actions, realizing we haven’t earned it, but we have received it all the same.
We are saved by the love of God, plain and simple. God’s love for us goes beyond our ability to understand it. I may not fully understand it, but I am thankful for the love of God.
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. – Ephesians 2:1-10