To Those Who Need Hope – Part 3 – Grace

It’s one thing to profess that you are a Christian, to commit good deeds, to participate in worship on Sundays, and to claim to believe the Gospel. It’s another to fully understand that we are sinners and totally reliant on the love and mercy of God, and to fully trust in His Grace.

These are words we may read and think we understand. These are “simple” words that I have heard and read for a long time now, so much that I seemingly gloss over them. Many of us may think we don’t, but we do.

How many times in our lives do we truly realize what a gift we have in the Gospel of Jesus, the Good News of Jesus, the news that tells us that we are loved—a love we can’t fully comprehend, a love that we can’t match, a love that can sustain us through anything because it’s perfect love, a love that is not human, a love without conditions? But is that last one true? A love without conditions? Aren’t we required to believe in Jesus and trust Him and love Him back with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength? That’s what God wants from us, definitely. He wants us to trust Him, to lean on Him, to love Him.

These things are true. But the wonderful, incomprehensible thing is: He loves us regardless.

He loves us the way we are—in our sin, in our suffering, in our insecurities and anxieties, in our brashness and piety, in our hypocrisy, in our inherent brokenness. He does not condone our sin, but he loves us regardless. God’s Grace for us is so much bigger than we realize.

As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:9, as he is addressing the resurrection of Christ to the church in Corinth, “For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain.” God used Paul, believed in him and loved him, even though Paul had persecuted Christ-followers and committed terrible sins against the Lord. At this point in his life, Paul recognizes the wrong he had done, and knows he is unworthy, yet God uses him in ways unimaginable to most of us.

As Christians, many of us are afraid to admit we are sinners, to admit how we are and what we are. But God knows. We don’t like to admit that not all of our good deeds are done altruistically. But God knows. We like to think that we are automatically in better standing with God than others because we attend church every week, because we donate to charities, because we don’t cuss or participate in secular activities. We may be kidding ourselves, but we aren’t fooling God.

We can fool our fellow believers, but we can’t fool God.

When we get to a point where we are utterly honest and transparent with God, where we fully recognize our sinful and imperfect state, we are then at a point where we are ready to put our full trust in God and in His love and Grace. In this state of clarity, we can fully, truly realize that we are loved despite our sinful condition.

Also to the church in Corinth, and in speaking of his pleading with the Lord regarding the “thorn given [him] in his flesh,” Paul says, 

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

Paul knows that God’s Grace and love is enough. It’s enough to sustain him—and all of us—through anything. It’s enough strength for us when we are in need, when we are suffering, when we have given up, and when we are doing well.

Accepting God’s Grace in our lives means giving everything up to Him. This allows us to let go of our burdens, to let go of the sin that holds us back from being our best selves, our true selves. It allows us to let go of the lie that we cannot change, that we cannot become better humans, that we cannot love our enemies. This letting go is the ultimate act of finding true freedom, no matter our circumstance.

We are loved. We are forgiven. We are not alone. When you comprehend just how massive, amazing, positive, encouraging, and unimaginable this is, everything changes.

To those who are suffering and need hope, to those who carry enormous guilt and shame and self-loathing, to those who are on the cusp of utterly giving up, remember this: God’s Grace—as demonstrated through the death, burial, and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ— is the forgiveness of all the sin in your life and an acknowledgement of your imperfections; it is the cradling of you in His arms and an outpouring of His endless love; it is the perfecting of you in His holy eyes and the revelation that you are not alone.

If He can forgive us and extend His grace to our brokenness—and His forgiveness and Grace is much larger than us and all of our issues—then we can give ourselves a break, be honest with ourselves, and put our trust in Him.

We don’t buy, pray, commend, or justify ourselves into Heaven. God’s Grace is a gift.

And that’s truly the most wonderful news there is.


Painting by Steph Moraca