Thursday, September 20, 2012

What I Don't Deserve

Guess what?  Doing what's right doesn't earn me good things.  You know that.  I know that.  Then why was I bummedwhen I returned from helping a friend to find a parking ticket on my windshield?  Why was my only detention in Middle School due to a good deed?
One might argue that we have a sense of justice--instilled by our Creator--that expects tit for tat.  The truth, however, is that most of the time I tat. I wouldn't admit it.  I try not to think about it.  You don't want to hear it because maybe you're the same, but if I'm honest, I take and don't return.  I inconvenience, manipulate and disservice others without noticeable consequences.  I sin against God and choose to think maybe He didn't see.  Or didn't care.  Or my actions were justified.
But God... Does He really use eternal scales, good vs. bad?
Not according to Scripture--and that's a good thing.  If He were to truly weigh my heart (good intentions and otherwise) and actions, each of us would come up short.  When we see reality for what it is, we are  helpless.  Hopeless.  Dead.  Each of us is disobedient and rebellious, wanting my own way all the time; totally, completely deserving of eternal punishment.  The only time I do good is when it benefits me in some way, shape or form. Period.
But God... who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,  even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),  and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,  that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.  For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,  not of works, lest anyone should boast.  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:5-10, NKJV).
Have you ever used that passage to compare yourself and God?  I hadn't until now.  Here's the breakdown:
dead (verse 1)
walking in trespasses and sin (verse 2)
following my desires and wants (verse 3)
deserving of wrath (verse 4)
needing rescue (verse 5)
unable to do enough good (v. 9)
rich in mercy (v. 5)
full of love (v. 5)
exercises love (v. 5)
gives life (v. 5)
raises me up (v. 6)
makes me sit in heavenly places (v. 6)
lavishes exceeding riches on me (v. 7)
demonstrates undeserved kindness toward me (v. 8)
rescues me out of His goodwill, as a gift (v. 9)
makes me His workmanship (v. 10)
recreates me in Christ Jesus (v. 10)
prepares good works for me to walk in (v. 10)

There is none like our God.  We cannot, will not come before Him apart from His grace and mercy; His lovingly kind touch.  So what's a parking ticket?  An opportunity to show His grace and mercy instead of the stinky, rotting response that comes naturally.  And it's all good.  Because He has been so good to me.

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