Walking in Grace
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God— not the result of works, so that no one may boast.
Ephesians 2:8-9 NRSV
This week we’re talking about journeys, about how throughout the Bible God has used the concept of journeying to help us understand and process our relationship with him. Thinking of our spiritual lives as journeys helps us express those moments we feel lost and quantify the meaning of our returns. The danger in this is to believe that God is merely at the end of a journey, and the trick is to always remember that he himself is the journey.
I want to continue with this because I think this theme of “journeying” is also used to tell us a lie that we fall for far more often than we’d care to admit to. That lie is that we need to have walked a particular path to earn God’s love, approval and salvation. It’s told by those who claim to know the route this path takes – a route that typically passes through their particular church or church tradition, their political stances or the inerrancy of their biblical interpretations.
But they are not the originator of this lie, merely its adherents. No, this lie goes back to Old Nick himself. He loves this concept of “journey” because he is always trying to squirrel us down side roads so that we’ll believe we’re outside of God’s reach. And he loves to try and convince us that to be God’s child we need to do one more thing, become one more thing. That way we’re way too busy to realise that we are already standing in God’s grace – that we had already reached our destination the moment we gave our hearts to Jesus, and that our travel insurance thus is infallible.There is not a path we can walk to earn grace, because Jesus did, and that road is now closed.
In Matthew 7:13-14 Jesus says this:
“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it. For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
We usually take this to mean that the broad way = worldly way. But which is really the harder path? To believe that we must do something to justify ourselves, to earn our places in God’s heart and in heaven? Or to trust that, somehow, inexplicably, incredibly, unbelievably, God knows and loves us already, and that this journey to him has already been completed?
Merciful Lord, you are never weary of speaking to my poor heart. Grant me grace that, if today I hear your voice, my heart may not be hardened. Amen. (Source.)