…since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus… (Rom. 3:23)
Let me call him Joe. With permission, I’m going to share his testimony.
One day while traveling to an event, he said, “I think it’s time to share why I became a Christian.”
He continued, “Although I’d gone to church my whole life, I couldn’t make sense of Jesus, and I didn’t understand why I needed grace. I thought grace was for losers, not me. I’d always thought I was a good guy, but then my whole understanding of myself changed during one weekend. I woke up somewhere I didn’t belong. I felt so ashamed, so dirty, so lost. My sin broke my heart, but it drove me to Jesus. My sin almost destroyed my marriage, but it did save my soul. Maybe there was no other way for grace to become real—with me on my knees, like every other lost or broken person.”
Is Joe’s path to grace anything like our own? Although we may not have awakened somewhere we didn’t belong, many of us have had a moment where our self-righteous façade was destroyed. At such moments, we had to face the pain we caused, the lies we told, the lust we indulged, the anger we spread, the resentments we nurtured, and we felt ashamed, lost, broken.
In today’s lesson, Paul is inviting us to confront our broken humanity by stating that we have “all sinned.” As we face how we have fallen short, there are two diverging paths. The first is to refuse to admit and confess our sin. The second is to beg for God’s mercy. The first way is death. The second way is life.
When my friend Joe most needed grace, the grace of Jesus was real and abundant. May I encourage us to trust that however or whenever we admit our need for grace, the grace of Jesus will be just as real and abundant for us.
- If Joe had shared his path to grace with you, how would you have responded? Would you have shared part of your own path? If so, why? If not, why?
- Is there someone in your life who would benefit from hearing how grace became real to you? If so, when are you going to extend that benefit and blessing to them?
- Those who have grace from Jesus are called to extend grace to others. Are you doing so? If so, how and to whom? Do you have yet more grace to share?