Grace and the Good Girl

I was raised in a Christian home and became a Christian at the age of 12. I knew I loved Jesus but I did not have a full understanding of salvation. I tried very hard to live like a Christian but failed many times and still do. I tried to “be good” and by some accounts I was considered “a good girl”.

I did not consider myself to be good enough so I tried to be perfect! I am not sure how I came to put this upon myself but for some reason I believed that I had to be perfect in everything I did in order to make it into heaven. I was miserable and constantly wondered if when I died God would allow me into His presence for eternity. There was no assurance of salvation, only feelings of unworthiness. How could a Holy God who created the heavens and the earth ever love me or allow me into Heaven?

After many years, God opened my mind to the truth of His Word. I learned that I could never be “good” enough. How did I come to this conclusion? In God’s Word, He addresses the issue of sin. I realized that I had an inherited sin nature. Yes, I am sinner, just like everyone else in this world. I inherited it from Adam and Eve when they sinned in the garden by disobeying God. I discovered that no matter how hard I tried, I could never be “good enough” to come before a Holy God because sin cannot come into His presence.

Two verses were aha moments for me:

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” (Romans 3: 23)

Just as sin entered the world through one man (Adam), and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned— To be sure, sin was in the world before the law was given…” (Romans 5: 12-13) (placement of Adam’s name is my note)

So while I was trying hard to be “perfect” or even just trying to be “good”, I could not work my way to salvation. Why? Nothing within myself could save me. I didn’t/don’t have the ability to save anyone much less myself.

God is the only one who could solve the sin problem. And He did!

God’s divine plan of salvation required a sacrifice. In His infinite wisdom and love for His creation, God Himself took on the form of flesh and became a man whose name was Jesus. He would live a perfect life without sin and die on a cross as God’s Lamb with the sins of the world upon His shoulders. He would be placed in a tomb and would rise again from the dead on the third day. By doing this, He conquered sin and death so we could come before the presence of Almighty God.

For us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.”   (Romans 4: 24-25)

I knew Jesus died for me. I knew that my sins were washed away. I knew at that point it was simply a gift of grace that would allow me eternal life in His presence. But I struggled with the understanding of grace. Perhaps, you do too.

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, “ (Ephesians 2: 8)

If you have ever been given a gift, you understand that you are receiving it not because you earned it as if it were an award, but because someone loved you, admired you and wanted you to have something special without wanting any thing in return. That is grace. This is the gift of salvation. God gave us His gift of salvation because He loved you and wanted a relationship with you.

But just as you must choose to take a gift someone has given you and open it, you must choose to receive God’s gift of salvation through Jesus Christ and accept Him as Lord and Savior. It is your choice. Let Jesus remove the sin and guilt, the striving for perfection, the good works in order to enter heaven, your inadequacies, your feelings of failure and all those other things Satan is using to make you feel downtrodden. Jesus is the only answer to your salvation. Admit you are a sinner, believe that Jesus died for your sins, and confess that He is your Lord and Savior.

From experience, I can tell you that once the sin issue is solved, the burden of “goodness” will be lifted. You no longer have to “do good” for the sake of “doing good” or trying to be “perfect” but because you love the One who died for you and gave you eternal life.

My name is Sandra and I am a saved sinner by the Grace of God and the blood of His Lamb Jesus Christ the Messiah.

 

Sandra Hardage