Everything is Grace

Our whole life—our living and dying—are done in the grace of God.

From the beginning, God choose us and created us to live in communion with him and others.

Now, that we are included in the people of God our task is to live it out inviting others on the journey with us. We shouldn’t try to win people over with arguments and proofs, but by showing in word and deed the beauty and goodness of God. By showing people what it means to live as God’s visible community on earth as it is in heaven. That’s enough.

Glory isn’t brought to God by making some in and some out. No! That’s what human glory and kingship is all about. The Divine King who we worship and serve is a God who pours himself out and includes all in his embrace. Glory is brought to God when all are included in the party that insists on happening.

The God I worship and want to point you to is the God who wastes nothing and specializes in hugs, kisses, and resurrection. This God, if it were possible for Him to make a mistake and had created something without purpose would redeem the mistake by making it the most beautiful thing in all of creation.

Ponder that last sentence and gaze at the cross and you will see its deep truth.

It’s often asked, and recently someone did ask me, “Why God created them as they are?”

I responded that God made them, you and me, everything that was, is, or ever will be, as we are to bring glory to God and help others see the goodness and beauty of the God that we worship and serve whose glory is magnified through the love of everyone.

This God doesn’t exclude or play favorites.

This God blesses and welcomes all.

You are in before you are out. Your being out is your choice, not Gods.

He wants you at the Kingdom party now and forever!

Do you get it!

Do you?

Even the person who thinks themselves a lost cause and beyond the love of God brings God glory by being who God made them to be. God is their creator and redeemer. God made them the unique soul that they are and wants them to fulfill their purpose. God wants them to be who they really are more than they do.

We need to remind them of their divine image bearing capacity. To guide them into the life created for them. Not to change them into our likeness, but help them bring out God’s likeness that is already in them.

We are to be all that God made us to be—that’s what will bring the most glory to God.

While I will pray until the day I go to be with Jesus that hell is and remains empty, (Yes! I said it.) I know some will say no to the Kingdom party. There’s only one other place for them to go. The party poopers are not in hell because God sent them there or predestined it for them. They’re not there to show the glory of God. They are there because they chose to be there. They said no to God’s free and abundant offer of life.

I’ll do what I can. I hope you will do all you can to open their eyes to the goodness and beauty of God, to guide them into the marvels of the life of grace.

Just trust Jesus, say yes to his outlandish proposal.

As Julian of Norwich says “Fully trust in him and all will be well.”  Or as Soren Kierkegaard said, “Jesus says ‘Come!’ But if, alas, one is in such distress he cannot come, a sigh is enough: to long for him is to come to him.”  Jesus invites us to trust him. In the end, faith is the sigh of simply trusting Jesus to be who he says he is and taking it one step at a time. The willingness is enough for Jesus to begin to transform our lives. Just be willing. That’s all.

Now, people will rightly affirm God’s sovereignty. I’m not here to dismiss it. If I did you, my friends, should ignore me.

I believe that God’s sovereignty needs to be qualified with love, as the Brief Statement of Faith in the Book of confessions does: In sovereign love God created the world good and makes everyone equally in God’s image. It’s not so much that God loves or has love or will love. God is love.

1 John 4 says, “let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. God loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.” (v. 7, 10, 16)

Love is not an action or attribute of God along with his other actions and attributes. God is love means that love is who God is at his very core. Love doesn’t stand alongside God’s other actions or attributes. It defines them. Love is describing who God is.

We know this to be true, because of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Jesus as the human face of God shows us who God is.

I believe, proclaim, and follow a Jesus-like God.

If God is like Jesus, then we have nothing to fear and everything to celebrate.

As you see, Love is most fully seen in the cross.

Jesus went all the way including death on a cross to restore us to a right relationship with the living and loving God of all. The cross is God’s love made manifest in history. The cross frees us to be who God created us to be from the beginning. We are liberated from everything that prevents us from experiencing and knowing the love and grace of God. We are set free to experience life to the full.

Everything in heaven and earth is summed up in Jesus who gathers everything together restoring its beauty and goodness. Everything finds its completion in Christ! That is amazing! No longer must we huff and puff. We don’t have to work and sweat to stay on God’s good side. We don’t have to bend over backwards to earn it. It’s ours already, if only we trust Jesus. Jesus has finished it and set us free.

God is not counting any sins against us, because Jesus has cleared our record and stands in our place as one without sin.

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