Friday, April 14, 2006

Grace - The Best Gift I Never Deserved

That summer at camp, it was such a relief to finally understand why Jesus died on the cross and to know that my sins were covered and forgiven once and for all by his sacrifice. However, those answers gave way to more questions. There was one question in particular (two actually) that I needed to know the answer to: When I die, will I go to Heaven? What does that require?

That’s when I learned about one of my favorite words ever: grace. Grace, as defined by Merrian-Webster means “unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification, a special favor”. In other words--a gift God gives us that we don’t deserve.
Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It's God's gift from start to finish! We don't play the major role. If we did, we'd probably go around bragging that we'd done the whole thing! (The Bible – Ephesians 2:8-9)

The forgiveness of our sins and the salvation of our souls (going to Heaven) is a free gift that God is holding out to us. It is all His work. It is not something we earn through living good lives. It is by grace. A free gift from God. But like every gift, it is not ours until we receive it. God seems to be a gentleman, and one of His character qualities is that He doesn’t force Himself upon us. He has done all the work to save us, but it is up to us to receive that gift…to receive Him! The way to be saved from your sins is to have faith/belief/trust in Jesus to do it. As the above verse says, “All we do is trust him enough to let him do it.” It’s really just that simple.

That summer at camp when I was ten years old, my life changed. I put my faith in Christ to forgive me and save me from my sins. I expressed that faith to Him through a prayer that went more or less like this:

Thank you for loving me. I know I’m a sinner and that my sin deserves punishment. Thank you sending Jesus to die on the cross for my sins. I believe that He died for me and rose from the grave. I trust Jesus Christ alone as my Savior. Thank you for the forgiveness and everlasting life I now have.

In Jesus’ Name,

The prayer itself was not magic. It was just a way to tell God what I was doing—putting my faith in Him. That moment was THE major turning point in my life. My life with God began in that moment, and I have never been the same.

A commenter on yesterday’s post said, “The coolest part of this "death of sin" stuff is that it's not just for Heaven. It's clear from the Bible that Jesus expected His power to change the way we live here and now. All that changed life business is not just pie in the sky, it's real!”

I agree. The Bible says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

How would you like a new start? Why not put your faith in Jesus today?

If you’d like to read more about feeling sure you are going to Heaven, click here.

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