So much to read and so little time. After all, there are meals to prepare, Maisie to walk, Sweet William to look after, and people to enjoy. And I do love my people.
But when I can, I like to read a variety of books. With some, I wonder why I bothered when the words become disagreeable and/or plain boring, yet the perfectionist in me commands me to finish. Occasionally, I’ve disregarded that overachiever voice and closed the cover.
My current reading is disturbing. The author writes about surviving church, remaining a believer in spite of those who fill sanctuaries. It’s about Christians who don’t really act like Christians. They are more like legalist; prosecutor, judge and jury; critic; hater of the sin and the sinner too. Sadly, I am convicted by the descriptions. I have been them.
Examining Jesus words and actions, recorded in the Gospels, I see something completely different. He loved the unlovely and touched the untouchable. He did not condemn but called for disciples. He offered forgiveness to the worst offender. He showed compassion for the masses and the individual. He was merciful and full of grace.
And yet the truth He declared was lightning-bolt startling, like no other. He spoke with the authority of the I Am, asking His followers to take up the cross and walk with Him. He called His friends to an impossibly high standard.
How do I achieve the law of love Jesus commanded? How can I be holy like the Father is holy?
I cannot. Nor can anyone else. And therein lies the lavish gift of grace.
For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as sons [and daughters] through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.
— Ephesians 1:4-6 NIV
By trusting Christ to be my Savior and Lord, He calls me holy and blameless.
Holy and Blameless! This is outrageous. Scandalous. Shocking. Is he talking about me?
This beauty in which I am clothed is through Jesus Christ. It is God’s pleasure and will. It is to the praise of His glorious grace. It is freely given in the One He loves.
This is the amazing grace of God. Its extravagance invites me into communion with Christ, Him living through me, loving others in a way I could not on my own. His strength empowers me to be the person I was created to be. Through Him, I will not just call myself a Christian, I will live like one.