We start with a story.... Once there was a wealthy man who had two sons. He loved both sons greatly, and wanted to see them succeed in life. They had their needs fulfilled, all the comforts that money could buy, and most of whatever they desired. However, not content with this, the youngest son wanted to be independent of his family, and go his own way in life. He demanded his inheritance; told his dad he hated him, and wanted nothing more to do with his family.
So the son went off into the world, he did many things he wasn’t proud of, and lived many lives. He ended up penniless, broken and humiliated. He came to realize that his way had led him down a path of misery, and everything he did to try and fix it just made it worse. Eventually the only job he could get was taking care of pigs on a farm, and the pigs ate better than he did. He finally thought that maybe he would go back to his father; maybe he would let him work for him.
As soon as his father knew he was coming, he ran to meet him. The son tried to apologize, but his dad hugged him, and cried tears of joy that he had his son back. He desired no apology, or proof that his son had changed. He put new clothes on him, placed rings on his fingers, and threw a lavish party for him using the best and the finest that he had.
This story is my paraphrase of Parable of the Prodigal Son from Luke 15. At the end of the parable Jesus tells us about the older brother. The one who did everything “right”-- who seemingly was a faithful son and never left his father. This son could not understand why his father would lavish such gifts on someone who deserved to be punished.
What his father did for the rebellious son is grace. The son deserved punishment and harsh treatment for his actions but instead was given reward. This was outrageous! Especially to the one who had jumped through all the hoops, and knew they had earned their reward.
I once heard the following illustration during a sermon: A man in a sports car is doing 100mph in a 30mph zone. When he gets pulled over, the officer doesn’t give him a ticket (this is mercy), but instead gives him $1000 (this is grace). Isn’t this good news to the man in the sports car? Like that man in the sports car you have been given good news! When Jesus died on the Cross he made you completely whole, and holy. You are now a new creation. No longer a sinner; you were made a saint 2000 years ago in Jesus work on the cross.
When Jesus died on the cross, you died too!(Col 3:3) You went into the grave with Him. (Gal 2:20) And you rose again with/in Him as a new creation. Old things have passed away, behold, all things have become new. Since you are in Christ you are a brand new, fresh creation. (2 Cor 5:14-17) That old man is dead. The body of sin has been cut away, and removed. Your nature is no longer a sin nature.
When Jesus died on the Cross, His dad became your dad, and His inheritance became your inheritance. You are not the ugly step child. You are the beloved son and/or daughter of God. He who created the universe sings and dances over you with joy. He delights in you, and his every thought of you is good. You are the apple of his eye, just as much as Jesus is the apple of his eye.
When Jesus died on the Cross, He made the ultimate trade with us: NATURES. We exchanged the sin nature from our father Adam, for the righteous nature of Jesus. And we didn’t even have anything to do with it! It was done on our behalf, and without our knowledge of what was happening. God didn’t bother getting our consent before doing it. Our only responsibility is to believe, and accept this exchange. There is no earning this. It has already been done. You are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.
When Jesus died on the cross, your address changed!(Rom 6:6-11 Message Bible) You are now living in a whole new world; a new existence. You are seated in heavenly places with Christ. (Eph 2:6) You are living in the realm of God’s Grace. No longer does everything depend upon you. It all depends upon Him, and he lavishes grace upon you. Grace is unmerited and undeserved favor. It is sowing a field of weeds, but reaping a bountiful harvest. Grace looks unfair because it has nothing to do with the recipient’s actions. It isn’t grace if you earn it, it is payment. It was already paid for by Christ on the Cross. There is nothing more that we can add. We cheapen His grace by trying to earn and war our way further on our journey, instead of resting in and relying on his gift.
When Jesus died on the cross all requirements were fulfilled. He requires you to be holy, but He gives you holiness. He requires you to have faith, but He gives you the faith. He requires you to love, but He gives you the love. Everything that He requires of us is provided for us as a free, unearned gift. His yoke is easy and light. (Matt 11:29-30)
Jesus finished everything on the cross. There are no loose ends hanging out there to be completed. He is not worried about whether we will arrive, or do everything that he left undone. He wants you to rest in the finished work. There is NOTHING left to do. He did it all. It is complete. He won, and we don’t have to fight anymore. We can just ride on the back of our Daddy’s war horse. The dependent, passive passenger of His Grace. No worries at all. Completely trusting our capable and loving Father.
There is no need to press in or contend for Him to notice us, and intervene in our lives. He is in us, and we are in Him . We can rely on Him, and live in rest with perfect peace, without fear. There is no need to strive and war anymore. He won. We are not a disappointment to him. We can never do enough, and we don’t need to. He knows every moment, the hard work, the angst, and He loves us. He says it was never necessary.
Don’t beat yourself up. God’s grace and favor never runs out, and never runs dry. He has more than enough for you. There are none too far gone, and no one is too messed up. The answer is always the same. He is the Savior, and his act on the Cross was enough for everyone, and for every issue. Receive his unmerited favor into your life and situation. Meditate on what he has done for you, and who you are in Him.
By Danica Kaldor