Hilda slowly drove into the garage of her home after a long day at work. She turned off the car engine, grabbed her bag and went into the house. But as she walked in, she heard her husband tell her to stop at the door. There was glass all over the floor. Her daughter had broken a vase.
Hilda felt anger rise in her. She vividly remembered telling her daughter not to go near the vase. She had taken time to explain why it was important to handle it properly and that it was irreplaceable. “Please don’t punish her.” Tim’s voice broke her into her thoughts. “And why not?” Hilda retorted. Why should Hilda spare her daughter after this act of disobedience?
The answer is simple: grace, something we get when we don’t deserve it. From the beginning of time, God has commanded us to avoid doing wrong. But, we just couldn’t do that, starting with the first occupants of the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve.
We live in a broken world filled with human error. We all deserve to be punished for our disobedience; but God showed grace to man through the birth and death of his Son, Jesus, as the exchange for all our sins—once and for all. As Hebrews 10:12 explains, “But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God.”
This removes any doubts that we can save ourselves. Our numerous acts of kindness, while nice, can’t save our souls. The generous donations we make can’t protect us from God’s wrath. Even our religious activities are just activities.
So you can quit all the self-condemnation and endless quest to save your soul. It’s been done already. You only have to receive God’s forgiveness by faith through his son Jesus and enjoy the life it brings. Like what happened next in Hilda’s story, her daughter apologized for disobeying her mom and Hilda chose to forgive her and not punish her for it. As written in 1 John 1:9, “But if we confess our sins to God, he can always be trusted to forgive us and take our sins away”.
Now that’s grace, simply defined.
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Here is some related reading for you: Good Works