Here is a verse we often use as a hickory switch, thrashing ourselves whenever we stumble or fall short of God’s best for us.
“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”
And that’s true, of course. We have sinned. We’ve already embraced that reality. We know we fall short of perfection. Way short.
But notice something interesting about that familiar verse: it ends in a comma. Meaning sin is not the whole story. Check out the rest of the sentence:
“And are justified freely by his grace
through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”
We’re not to stop at sin, then; we’re to move on to grace. Freely. No payment on our part is required, because the cost has been paid in full, and we’ve been redeemed.
Grace is a gift from God. We’ve done nothing to deserve this gift. We simply hold up our hands and say, “Thank you.” That’s grace in a nutshell. A gift. With a tag that reads, “For you.”
Here’s another verse we chop in half and use as a whip:
“For the wages of sin is death.”
Our shoulders sag as we nod in agreement. That’s me. I’ve sinned. Now I have to pay for it. Do you really? Read the rest of the verse:
“but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
How often we’ve fixated on the first part of that truth and ignored the second. We hear “sin” and“death” and completely miss “gift” of God” and “eternal life.” No wonder we find it so hard to forgive ourselves. We’re thinking punishment. God is thinking Christmas.
“Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!”
2 Corinthians 9:15