Think about that. Read it again. We need this message because people relate to God all wrong. You might be one of them. (I don’t mean to offend you! Just startle you.)
Some relate to God as if they are trying out for a baseball team: Going above and beyond. Fielding every ball. Swinging hard in practice. Running the bases with abandon. All because you have to secure a spot on the team. You gotta prove you are worth it.
Here’s the thing: baseball tryouts and the Gospel are totally at odds. The Great and Good News of the Gospel is this: we will never be good enough to earn God’s love. You can stop ‘trying out’ now. If God loves you, it’s not because of your performance or accomplishments. It’s because he has set his love on you, even when you are unlovable. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) That is great news.
Even with all our good works, our regular church attendance, faithful service in the Nursery, giving money, time or anything else, we are still filled with selfishness, pride, pettiness, and inner-heart-ugliness. (Again, I don’t mean to offend you!) But God loves you anyway. God sent his son to rescue you, in spite of your sinfulness.
We will never be good enough to earn God’s love. The pressure’s off. Coming to God is not at all like going to a baseball tryout. The coach wants you to make the team; all you have to do is ask from the bottom of your heart!
Similarly, you can never do enough to exhaust God’s grace. This astounds us for two reasons. First, we can’t fathom limitless grace. We get frustrated with someone (our kids, an employee or co-worker) who falls short repeatedly, and still asks for another chance. Why? Because our ‘grace’ is not limitless; it has an end point. God’s doesn’t. Everything about God is infinite. And, that includes his grace and love.
In fact, the enemy of our souls does not want us to believe this: he’d rather we hide from God when we sin. He wants to keep us isolated from the source of infinite grace. So, he speaks lies into our heads: “God won’t forgive you.” “Again? You did that again? For the 500th time? Don’t you think God is sick of you?” Lies like that.
Just remember God’s grace is infinite – for the humble heart who comes to God in humble confession and repentance, there is nothing from God but grace!
Second, we can think: “but someone will take advantage of it?” Well, yes. That’s the risk of grace. If God didn’t want that risk, he would have structured reality differently. Grace means you risk of being taken advantage of. I think this is why we don’t love to extend grace in our lives—we don’t want to be ripped off. But, that’s the vulnerability of grace.
We will never be good enough to earn God’s love. The pressure is off! Live in response to that love. We will never be bad enough to exhaust God’s grace. The pressure is off! Live in willing confession and his increasing power to live for him, and risk extending grace to others. In this way, we’ll watch our community be transformed.