I grew up hearing the Gospel message my whole life. It was a piece of knowledge that would allow me to fit in with the Christian culture I had been raised in. It’s not that I did not believe it but it was that I had not experienced it personally. I had heard that all I had to do was believe, but there were these other things I heard more that overshadowed the freedom of faith alone. These other things were works, or actions I had to perform to have the identity of Christian.
I tried really hard not to curse. I tried harder not to dislike my siblings. When I was younger I had told my sister I hated her to which she responded that I could not hate her and love Jesus. This seemed a serious thing. A thing I could not achieve. I was a liar. I was disobedient to my parents. I cheated on tests. No matter how hard I tried I could not be very good for very long. All of a sudden before I knew it Church did not have good news but only bad.
I could accept that there was a Higher Being. I knew Him to be God, and not one of many, but the Only. I knew Him to be good and to be powerful and the more I learned about Him the more terrified I was because I knew how bad I was in comparison. I knew there was something broken in me and I couldn’t heal myself. I knew good and bad and despite my very best efforts I chose bad all too often and good not enough. Because of this belief in a Higher Being I knew it was against Him that all my bad works were committed. This was all very bad for me that I just thought it best not to believe…
It was bad until it was revealed to me that that same Higher Being, who was called God, who was good and powerful, was the very One who became Man and died on a tree in order that I would not have to pay the penalty for the bad I had done. This is when I experienced the Gospel. It wasn’t just a piece of information anymore, but it was my very life. This crazy idea of the Resurrection from Death to Life made sense to me finally because I felt that He had done it within me. I felt peace for the first time. This peace came from the grace of God shown to a sinner who did not deserve anything good.
I still struggle and I still feel my brokenness, but God is slowly but surely making me more into His image of Holiness. He makes me whole. Works or actions are no longer my identity but the Gospel. It has consumed every part of me and from the overflow of His Grace and Peace, I am able to serve, love, and have hope in a real and sincere way.
Grace and Peace. This was a greeting exclusive to Christians in the Apostle Paul’s day. Grace was said for the work of God done in the believer and Peace was said for the effect that God’s work had on the believer. In essence it was the Good News that each believer lived. The Gospel was so prevalent and fresh that it was the very thing that was spoken upon their first encounter with another believer. I pray all can have that same Grace and Peace.
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