Speaking of Life

No Fear

Why is it that we humans, even those of us who profess to be Christians, seem to find the idea of simple grace so impossible to believe? The prevailing view among Christians today seems to be that when all is said and done, salvation depends on what we have done or not done.

(5.1 minutes)
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Biography:
Joseph Tkach

Joseph Tkach has been president of Grace Communion International since 1995. He holds a Doctor of Ministry degree from Azusa Pacific University. For more information about him, click here.

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God is so high you can't get over Him; So wide you can't get around Him; 

So low you can't get under Him.

Do you happen to remember this traditional Gospel song?

Little children enjoy singing along to it because they can act along with the words. They sing “So high”…and stretch their hands high above their heads; “So wide” … and they spread their arms wide; “So low”…as they crouch down as low as they can.

It’s a cute song, fun to sing, and it can teach children an important truth about the being of God. But, as we get older, how many of us really believe that message? A few years ago, Emerging Trends–a publication of the Princeton Religion Research Center–reported that 56 percent of Americans, “with most describing themselves as Christians, say that when they think about their death, they worry ‘a great deal’ or ‘somewhat’ that they will ‘not be forgiven by God.’”

The report, based on a Gallup Institute survey, goes on to say, “Such findings raise the question of whether Christians in the U.S. have an understanding of the Christian meaning of ‘grace’ and suggest the need for more effective biblical teaching in Christian churches in this country.”

Why is it that we humans, even those of us who profess to be Christians, seem to find the idea of simple grace so impossible to believe? The touchstone of the Protestant Reformation was the biblical teaching that salvation—complete forgiveness of sins and reconciliation with God—comes solely and only by God’s grace.

Yet, the prevailing view among Christians today seems to be that when all is said and done, salvation depends on what we have done or not done. It is as though a great divine scale will weigh all our good deeds on one side and all our bad deeds on the other side and our salvation will be determined by which side is heaviest. No wonder we are afraid! Will we find, at that moment of judgment, that our sins have piled up “so high” that even the Father can’t see over them, “so wide” that Jesus blood can’t cover them, and we have sunk “so low” that the Holy Spirit could not reach us?

The truth is, we don’t have to worry about whether God will forgive us; he already has: “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” the Bible tells us in Romans 5:8.

We are judged righteous only because Jesus died for us and rose again. It doesn’t depend on the quality of our obedience. It doesn’t even depend on the quality of our faith. It is Jesus' faith that matters. All we have to do is trust him and accept his good gift. Jesus said: “All whom the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.” (John 6:37-40  TNIV) That is God’s will for you. You don’t have to fear. You don’t have to worry. You can accept the gift of God.

Grace, by definition, is undeserved. It is unearned. It is God’s free gift of love. It is given to every person who will simply accept it. We need to think of God in a fresh way, the way the Bible actually presents him. God is our Redeemer, not our condemner. He is our Savior, not our destroyer. He is our Friend, not our enemy. God is on our side.

That’s the message of the Bible. It’s the message of God’s grace. The Judge has already done everything that needs to be done to make our salvation secure.

That is the good news that Jesus brought to us. Some versions of that old Gospel song have a last line of the chorus that says, “You gotta come in at the door.” But the door is not some obscure opening that only a few can find. In Matthew 7:7-8 Jesus told us: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

I'm Joseph Tkach, speaking of LIFE.

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