Posted by Pastor Jim Fikkert

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. | 1 Peter 2.9-10

We have no concept of what we would be without the grace of God. At no place do we ever experience our sin free from God’s love and mercy. Our worst is always buffered by His goodness.

There is, however, time in which we are not living in response to His grace. Most people spend their lives blind to the many ways that God is gracious, and in return they live as if all of the good in their life is of their own doing (or the result of some lifeless cosmic force). To do this is not just failing to acknowledge God; it also makes the focus of life: our goodness. With our goodness at the center, we work for our own goodness under the power of our goodness. This leads to a self-dependant, self-willed, self-centered existence. The problem is: SELF is a terrible god. What I mean by god is: the center from which we build all truth and meaning; the focus of our action; that which we use as the measurement of what is. SELF as god leads to shame (god is not good), despair (god can not save you) and loneliness (none of these other people recognize the importance of your god). This creates depressed people living meaningless lives in a broken world.

BUT GOD … being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved. | Ephesians 2.4-5  

This is the point at which God’s grace not only exists as the backdrop of our existence, but it comes flooding into every corner of our life, as He rescues us from the prison of SELF and invites us to live in the light of grace. He welcomes us into His family, gives us identity as His, and calls us to live the life of holiness and worship that we were created for. This is not just: becoming a Christian; this is a transformation from living an unsustainable life causing destruction while trying to find purpose, into a life where we can serve others and bless the world as we gain stabilization through the chaos of life. The grace of 1 Peter 2 and Ephesians 2 is not God giving us what we want, but opening our eyes to the reality that he has always been everything we need. The more we acknowledge this mercy and worship the giver, refocusing our lives from SELF to Him, the more we will be able to see His grace (it is EVERYWHERE).

You were hopelessly devoted to making something of this life…BUT GOD…