My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous.2 He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.
3 And we can be sure that we know him if we obey his commandments.4 If someone claims, “I know God,” but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth.5 But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him.6 Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did. 1 John 2:1-6 (NLT, my emphasis)
I remarked to a friend yesterday that I was reading in 1 John and also a book on “grace” and it felt like I was having a spa day! My spirit is being soaked in God’s love and I come away from this time feeling so relaxed. Thank You, LORD!
What do you think “grace” is? I always defined it as God’s unconditional, never-ending love for His children. I thought I kinda knew what grace was. I didn’t have the full picture because I knew that God’s love is so big that I was still learning about it. But then I read this passage in 1 John 2 and it jumped out at me that I had missed seeing the preposition.
I believed that Jesus was for me and with me but I did not catch that Jesus was in me and I was living in Him. When God looks at me from heaven, He sees the Jesus in me.
God wanted everyone, not just Jews, to know this rich and glorious secret inside and out, regardless of their background, regardless of their religious standing. The mystery in a nutshell is just this: Christ is in you, so therefore you can look forward to sharing in God’s glory. Colossians 1:26-27 (The Message, my emphasis)
Talk about making a silk purse from a pig’s ear! More and more as Jesus moves in and through me, the rough edges and impurities that were the old me are sanded and washed away, leaving only Jesus behind. And grace is God being my heart surgeon. He breaks down the wall that I built around my battered heart and takes that sick, poisoned, prideful heart and replaces it with His heart!
Jesus never told me to “get cleaned up before you come to Me.” No, Jesus took me and hugged me in my tattered, smelly state and then He began cleaning me! He didn’t expect me to find the door into heaven. Instead He brought heaven to me. If I can’t forgive someone, if I don’t think I can face another day, if I can’t understand how God allows cancer and suffering, Jesus can and He is moving in my life and moving through my life with His teaching and His Spirit.
To be saved by Jesus is to be saved by grace. I wasn’t saved from my sins because of a church doctrine or church membership but by the Son of God Himself who swept me right into His heavenly presence. Grace doesn’t require a memorized prayer or reject me because of a tattoo or body piercing. It was grace that hugged the prodigal son home and scared the hate and pride right out of Paul. There is nothing more powerful than this beautiful, precious love from God called grace.
Miriam led the Israelites to dance in celebration before God. King David danced before the LORD. I can hardly wait to sing and dance with joy before God in heaven.
The Happy Dance written and sung by Lindell Cooley