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The one and only foundation of grace
- Jacob Ninan
Many Christians are not clear about their spiritual foundation, and so have no surety regarding their eternal salvation. They hope that God will show them mercy on the final day because He is like that, they have not been such bad sinners, He will remember the good things they have done, etc. In this way they live in uncertainty not knowing about how it will actually turn out. But this is because they have not understood or experienced grace that Jesus came with. God wants us to know that we have eternal life, now (1Jn.5:13). Do you know that in in your heart?
The Old Testament amply demonstrated that man does not have it in himself to keep God's commandments (Ro.8:3). All those who imagine that they can find acceptance with God by living a good life are mistaken, because they neither know God's standards nor their own weakness (Ro.3:20). God knew this already, but He went through the Old Testament to convince us people before He came out with the New Testament (new covenant). But many people have not 'seen' just what God is offering through the new covenant.
What can bridge the gap between God's lofty moral standards and man's weakness? Grace. Through grace God accepts us sinners just as though we were saints without any sin (Ro.5:8-10). When He washes us with the blood of Jesus Christ, our record of sins becomes white like snow (Is.1:18). All God asks us to do is to admit that we are sinners (who do not deserve this grace) (Je.3:13), turn from our sins and believe that it was for our sins that Jesus died (Ac.2:38;1Jn.2:2). What God is doing is expressing His immeasurable love for us whom He has created, recognising our helplessness in being unable to reach up to His standards, taking His own initiative in suffering the punishment for our sins and offering His free acceptance to those who will humbly receive it as a gift.
Now there are two types of resistance coming up against this offer. Religiously minded people typified by the Jews, who are used to working for and earning their acceptance from God, think it is unfair for God to offer it free, and rationally oriented people typified by the Greeks, think it is illogical that Jesus dying on the cross can have anything to do with our acceptance (1Co.1:23). But honest, humble people can recognise that they could not have been saved any other way, and God could not have done anything better.
When we have come through this narrow gate and found that it opened to the eternal riches that God has prepared for us, we realise how foolish we had been to despise it earlier. On the inside of the gate we find unconditional acceptance from our Father, forgiveness for our sins, an intimate relationship with the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, transformation of our nature into that of Christ, fellowship with others walking with us on this new path, help for all our needs, etc. How blessed are those who have found this way!