Monday, March 5, 2012

Who I Am in Christ: Justified by Grace through Faith

It was early 2005.  A series of unfortunate events, brought on by genetic chemical imbalances, this fallen world, and my own weaknesses, and I found myself in a place I never would have imagined.  I was unable to work, unable to pay my bills, and very, very discouraged.  Imagine my elation when I got a call from family, and then friends, that both were willing to take me in for a while as I got back on my feet.  It was nothing I could have deserved, but still desperately needed.  And all I had to do was admit my need, renounce my confidence in my own resources, and accept the gift that was being offered to me.  

This experience was the first in a line of gracious events that showed me a crystal clear picture of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Namely, that I did not have what it takes to save myself.  Have you been there?  Have you come to the end of yourself and realized your own need for Christ, apart from your abilities to justify yourself?  I pray you did not need the lessons I learned (the very hard way), but I'd imagine God has spoken to your heart in similar ways.  I learned that my identity is not found in my own abilities or achievements, but rather in the finished work of Christ on the cross.  I had known all the Sunday school answers up to that point, but the heart knowledge of extravagant grace paired with my own depravity had escaped me.  I was miserable, but not broken or contrite (to steal a phrase from a friend).  The gift of grace slowly drove me to repentance and the lowly spirit that is of great worth in God's economy.

Though the sacrifice of my friends breaks down in comparison to the Grace of God's sacrifice, there were many similarities.  There was grace through faith (Romans 11:6) and the gift was not of my own efforts, it brought deep peace (Romans 5:1), I escaped the consequences of my own choices (Ephesians 2:1-10), and I was given mercy (1 Tim 1:16).

May we continually come to the end of our own resources, so that we may know the true wealth we have in the riches of Christ's love for us.  I will leave you with this song...

...and my gratitude list, on this Multitude Monday:

~grateful for the sacrifice of Christ
~grateful for the Body of Christ that reached out to me
~thankful for the awareness of my own depravity, that sends me running to Christ
~thankful that my sweet husband is safely home from his trip

Be encouraged, the price is paid for you!


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