I’ve sung the famous hymn countless times. I’ve memorized scripture about God’s grace. I’ve heard sermons and sunday school lessons, and I’ve even seen the movie.
I think perhaps once, when I was a small child and I asked Jesus to save me from my guilty self and he did, perhaps then, I did know what grace truly was. But since then, I’ve forgotten. Although I could’ve told you what grace is, and I beleived I experienced it, I knew nothing of grace until two weeks ago.
I’ve lived a life committed to Jesus of Nazareth for the last 17 years of my life. I’ve had an intimate relationship with him, and I’ve known that he had saved me. But knowing, and expriencing are two very different things. I’ve often felt like my relationship with Christ is an ebb and flow of falling in love with him, and then falling away from him into church-like complacency. It’s been a life of giving him everything, and taking it back again. Talking to him, and then talking only about him. Of Loving God, or Loving others. And then there’s also the sin thing in there where I stumble and “fall backward” in my walk with him, whether that sin is complacency or against one of the explicit commandments.
Two weeks ago, I was having a quiet time, starting the “Solo” devotional. The passage was that of Gensis 3:1-10. The story of the fall of man in the garden of eden. As I read through the passage several times, I was disheartened. I saw that my life has been an ebb and flow, continually reliving this garden scene of sin. A pendulum swing life of sinning and then trying to catch up with God, never fully accepting the grace he’s offered me. I got discouraged because I saw that this one tiny chapter of the Bible is the cause of the REST of the books of the Bible. This one chapter set into motion a journey of thousands of years, billions of lives, as God tries to redeem his people back to himself. It took one chapter for man to seperate himself from God, and it takes God the rest of the 1045 pages (in my Bible) to redeem humanity back.
My thought immediately was that if it takes GOD 1045 pages, and thousands of years to overcome this sin, how am I ever going to get to a point where I can actually move forward… a point where I’m not just trying to “catch up”. And even though I knew about grace… it’d never fully penetrated my life enough for me to understand how grace works.
BUT, at that moment, suddenly the curtain was lifted from my eyes… I was blind, but then I saw. God showed me that since he HAS taken that long, painful effort to overcome that one small garden scene, I don’t have to do it. He gives it to me for free. I AM FREE. I don’t have to play the “catch-up” game. He lets me move forward from where I am.
I’m sure I’ve done a sucky job at describing this moment, so please pardon me. But I just had to share… I AM FREE. MY CHAINS ARE GONE! MY GOD MY SAVIOR HAS RANSOMED ME! LIKE A FLOOD HIS MERCY REIGNS. UNENDING LOVE. AMAZING GRACE.
For the first time in 17 years of my Christian life, I understand what grace is, and i’ve finally accepted it. It’s this flood that covers me, making me gush with tears of thankfulness and want to shout and dance in the streets. Being in the church my whole life, and being sure that I knew Jesus, I had always sang the hymn believing that I was one who was found, and who could see. I’d always been grateful for the fact that I hadn’t had to spend so much time as many people in the stage of life where I was lost and blind. But now, now I see that somehow I had been blind this whole time. and I only realize it now, because now I can see clearly. I can see the truth of the depraved human I am, and the awesomeness of the Holy Father, and the Amazing Grace that he bestows on me that makes it acceptable for me to even be in His presence. I have never felt this way before, and it’s the best feeling I’ve felt in my entire life. I see everything that I am not, and everything that Jesus is, and yet still he loves me and he saves me. It’s the most beautiful thing.