Cover 2015-08-02

Ron Writes

Seeing Others Through the Eyes of Grace

What does it mean to be spiritual? Some are struggling to be super saints. If they could just have a deeper prayer life, study their Bible with more understanding, read more religious books, and put more effort into life, they feel they would be closer to God. Something that I have noticed is that those who strive so hard get frustrated with those they don’t think are putting in the same effort. Deep down, it seems that they know that there is something lacking in their life, but at least they’re trying (i.e. trying harder than you). It’s easy to begin to feel that at least my sins aren’t as bad as yours.

The Message paraphrase renders Romans 2:1f, “But if you think that leaves you on the high ground where you can point your finger at others, think again. Every time you criticize someone, you condemn yourself. It takes one to know one. Judgmental criticism of others is a well-known way of escaping detection in your own crimes and misdemeanors. But God isn’t so easily diverted. He sees right through all such smoke screens and holds you to what you’ve done.” We are all guilty. “There is none righteous, not even one” (Romans 3:10).

If I only had only one sermon to preach, I want it to be about grace. Let me tell you what God did on the cross. Jesus paid it all. Not some, but all. We don’t give 80% and God takes care of the rest. God’s grace covers 100%. Forgiveness is the bridge we all must cross. It’s the only way to God and none of us can cross it on our own effort. “When I say I’m a Christian, I’m not saying I’m perfect – I’m saying I’m forgiven”. (And if you have come to believe that your sin is not as great as others, you better check the box next to “pride” as just another problem you have).

If my wife says it twice, she expects me to get it. God says it hundreds of times, coming from so many angles you’d think it would be impossible to not get it. The story starts off "A certain lender had two debtors. The one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty” (Lk 7:41-43). We are the great debtor in the story! If you would be spiritual then treat others with the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness.” Extend forgiveness.