Ah, the good life! A nice home, a loving spouse, 2.2 children, a good job, a fine car, the best food and drink…. don’t we all dream of something like that? As we walk this earth, we seek to fulfill that dream. Sometimes things don’t work out exactly right so we cut corners and maybe fudge a little on our taxes; the marriage has issues and we live at odds with our spouse or get a divorce; our kids aren’t honor roll at school and all the things we do to help them aren’t working; the car has issues; and the best food and drink leads to weight issues and problems with alcohol. What happened to our American Dream? Where did we go wrong?
We have gone wrong by placing this dream, which is probably a great dream to have, above our relationship with God. The cutting of the corners, the overindulgence of food, the marital issues all come about because we have become disobedient to the promptings of God in our life. This is what we call sin. The amazing thing about all of this, though, is that there is hope. This hope is found not in achieving our dreams – especially through ways that are contrary to God’s ways – but in the grace of God. When we turn back to God we don’t get what we deserve – we gain mercy and grace. “All of us also lived among them [those who are disobedient] at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” (Ephesians 2:3-5)
People often talk about “karma” – a non-Christian term for universal justice. As Christians, our focus needs to be on “grace” not on getting what we deserve. As Christians we believe that no one has ever led a sinless life except for Jesus. As a result, we are all, by nature, deserving of God’s wrath. If “karma” ruled, we would all be in great trouble. As followers of Christ we believe in God’s grace. It is not the fact that I am a good person that allows me to be God’s child; it’s that I have accepted His grace because I was among the disobedient and could not expect anything but His wrath if judgment depended on how good I was. I was spiritually dead in my trespasses and sins, but I was resurrected by the grace and mercy of God. If there is anything that is good in me, it is because God’s grace and mercy is molding me to be like Christ.
The idea of God’s wrath is not a popular concept to throw around. If you want to make someone mad, just go up and tell them that they deserve God’s wrath. Unless they truly understand the grace of God, they will probably get upset that you tell them that. Our message to a world that deserves God’s wrath must be a message of reconciliation. There is hope in this life and the next because of God’s grace! There is a promise that we will not get what we deserve because God’s grace brings mercy and forgiveness when we are caught in our sins. When we are dead in our transgressions, God’s grace gives life. God’s grace sustains us and allows us to become more like Jesus every day. No matter what anyone’s past may be, there is hope for forgiveness for all who turn from their sins and accept God’s grace. God is so rich in mercy; He is passing it out prodigiously. Accept His mercy and grace and experience the most amazing life possible.
Lord God, I am so grateful for Your grace. I don’t deserve Your mercy; I deserve Your wrath. Because of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross I can receive Your mercy and grace. Let me life show others the joy of Your grace and lead others to experience it also.