But by God’s grace I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not ineffective. However, I worked more than any of them, yet not I, but God’s grace that was with me. 1 Corinthians 15:10 (HCSB)
Grace in depth is complicated. When we think of grace, we can fall into one of two spectrums. The first spectrum is that of a pharisee. When we think in this mindset, we tend to get in to a legalistic type of thinking, having a mindset that if we do everything right, we can earn God's favor. We wake up early, do our quiet time, memorize scripture and spend ample time in prayer. Those are our good days, and those days we feel qualified to be a child of God. The other end of the spectrum, we take advantage of grace. In this mindset, we begin to look at grace as a free pass to salvation, however when we fail, we feel unqualified, and almost ashamed to be in the presence of God. Those are days we feel useless and unqualified in God's kingdom. Is grace based on our works, or is grace based on the finished work of the cross? The answer is in the latter statement. Jerry Bridges said it best when he said “Our worst days are never so bad that you are beyond the reach of God's grace. And your best days are never so good that you are beyond the need of God's grace.”We need to preach the gospel to ourselves daily. That is the key to understanding grace. We are sinners, who deserve death, and Christ came to live the perfect life we could never achieve, bearing the punishment we deserve, and he rose from the grave; defeating death, giving us the gift of eternal life. When self condemnation surfaces, take it to the cross. When we are satisfied in ourselves, we humble ourselves at the foot of the cross. That is where we find our identity rooted in what Christ did, not in anything we could ever achieve on our own.
God I thank you that you sent your son to die on the cross for me, a sinner. Thank you for providing your grace for me on my best days, and on my worst. Help me to remember the finished work on the cross daily. In your name I pray, Amen.
Do you tend to think God loves you based on your works? Practice preaching the gospel to yourself daily.