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There are several excellent lines in the notes below, but this one is a good summary: Grace means we can get all of the love, acceptance, forgiveness we long for, not because we worked harder, but because we accepted defeat.
Pretty much every religion is centered around pleasing a god or gods in order to get into an awesome afterlife. It's all based on our works! With Jesus, we get all of the benefits, without the endless work! And I love what Joseph points out are our deepest desires: love, acceptance, forgiveness. It's not always about a good life in Heaven, but experiencing these things, which allow us to be close to God, on Earth.
Here are the notes. It is based on Romans 3:19-26:
- We all want peace about life and the after
- According to the Law, there is something abhorable about every human, and it is sin.
- We all have it, which is maybe why we don't find it so bad...
- Makes any relationship with God completely impossible
- This feels futile!
- Maybe that's because it is -- no one is good enough
- A sense of our defilement before God is not bad or narcissistic, but healthy and a perception of our true condition.
- Doctor metaphor: if a doctor tells you you have cancer and you don't believe him because you don't want to, it's foolish
- Ignorance of too much information: the more information we have, the more we think we know, which becomes self-diagnosis
- Like using WebMD
- If you believe in some kind of God or hereafter in which you are allowed in because you are "good enough," you live under some sort of law or scale to be judged by.
- In order to understand our condition, we need to understand the devastation of our sin, and the gap that it creates between us and God.
- The space between me and the most vile person I can imagine, is closer than the space between the most moral person and an infinitely perfect God.
- ---Bad man---me------Good man--------------------------------------- (x more) God
- God's law lets us know how bad sin is so we can have a fighting chance at asking for an alternative
- The Old Testament can be summed up in "Law."
- The New Testament can be summed up in "Grace."
- This is where Christ comes in (see scripture in Romans)
- God hated sin enough, and He loved us enough, to send Jesus to pay for our sins
- You are never good enough for grace
- This should never become old hat for Christians
- You can never out learn or out grow grace.
- God is present in His church when grace abounds
- Church is best when people know it's okay to not be okay; that we're all longing for a second chance, broken and dependent on God.
- This exalts the grace of God in your life
- Grace means we're not in control
- Can lead to fear of "hypergrace," which equals enablement to do whatever you want
- Romans 6:1 - "What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?"
- Titus 2:11-14
- Grace leads to intimacy with God, which gradually makes us into the people we were made to be
- Grace means we can get all of the love, acceptance, forgiveness we long for, but not because we worked harder, but because we accepted defeat
- Grace pours freely into open hands
- This happens when we believe what God says about our sin, and His solution in Christ