“When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” John 19:30 ESV
The greatest gift that we possess is salvation from the finished work of Christ Jesus our Lord on the cross. He paid the price to satisfy the wrath of God against sinful, fallen people as we were. Yet to fully enjoy God as we were created, I must enjoy him above all things. No, nothing should unseat my love, honor, and devotion for him. What is your response to this statement? Have you gotten to this stage of spiritual development?
John Piper, retiring pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, MN., and originator of the Desiring God website has said, “we were made to enjoy God through Christ as my all satisfying friend, I have to enjoy him above all things.” Grace brings about a heart change in each of us that sets our sights on the true meaning of life. Do we really comprehend the offer that God has given to us through his son’s sacrifice? John the beloved disciple was at the cross, he heard from the lips of Jesus his testimony and recorded those last words, “It is finished.” Did he understand then what we are still indebted to Christ today?
As our hatred for and awareness of our sin increases, we desperately need a biblical view of the grace of God. We, human as we are, are unacquainted with grace, mercy, and truth that is untainted by sin. Humanly speaking, though we’ve experienced grace, we’ve never met a person that embodied grace perfectly. A natural man is moved to be gracious because he is aware, to some extent, that he is just as guilty as the person needing grace. A natural man forgives others even though he only knows a portion of all the other person is guilty of. Thus, our ability to forgive and extend grace is predicated on our own sinful nature and ignorance of others sinfulness.
God is not motivated by his own sinfulness nor enabled by his ignorance. He is a holy and righteous God, without sin and full of goodness and love. He is perfect in all his ways. He has never made a mistake and can do all things but fail. There is no moral compass to measure how upright and blameless he is. He is the standard bearer.
And yet, when we, his sinful and rebellious prodigal children turn our backs, fool around with sin, and grieve his Spirit, he calls us to repentance with hope and loving words saying, “Come home my child.”
He is aware of our every sin. He knows all that we have ever done and still he loves us. His knowledge of who we really are does not hinder his love for us. He is also aware of the evil hidden in our selfish ambition. Instead, he took the penalty for our sin upon himself on the cross. God’s grace stands out beyond our understanding. He fulfilled and satisfied the wrath of God through this sacrifice for the sin of the world. Those standing under the cross of Christ can rejoice that Christ took the penalty for our sin. We are clothed in the righteousness of his blood sacrifice.
This grace is only found in the Christian faith. All through the scriptures the message of grace is proclaimed. The Lord God is “merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin” (Exodus 34:6-7). We cannot add anything to this gift of salvation. However, we can celebrate and rejoice that grace has come into this world through Jesus’ redemptive exchange.
Prayer: Lord, we can never repay you for this gift of salvation. Yet, we can live to tell others of this hope that comes from your sacrifice. May we share this joyful good news with those living in this world as you establish your kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.
James Conley, Pastor
First Baptist Church
 Piper, John, “Is God’s Grace Really Free or Does It Cost Me Everything. Desiring God website. Aug. 11, 2017. https://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/is-gods-grace-really-free-or-does-it-cost-me-everything.
 Holmes, Phillip, “God’s Grace is Mind-Blowing.” Desiring God website. Nov. 12, 2015. https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/gods-grace-is-mind-blowing.