By the Grace of God

Have you ever felt repulsed by your old life? One of my favorite TV shows was Friends, a popular sitcom in the mid-1990s – 2000s. I was very engaged in the Ross and Rachel saga. Ah…the good ol’ days, or, maybe not. A couple of years after I met Jesus, I sat down to watch an episode. My anticipation turned to discomfort when the sexual innuendo spoke louder than the comedy. My eyes were open wide. The ways of the world stood out like gaping wounds. Watching Friends was like going back to an old life that didn’t fit anymore.

After I received Christ into my life, I saw my sin. I felt like God put it out in front of me like a feast that had turned sour. It made me feel great shame, therefore, I felt unworthy. Instead of experiencing promised freedom, I was in condemnation. I couldn’t see the free gift of grace that God had offered. Ephesians 2:8 (NLT) says, “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.” Living condemned was returning God’s free gift of grace.

The truth is that God doesn’t show us our sin to shame us. We see our sin because we come alive. There is supposed to be a difference between the old and the new. The good thing is that the old has passed away and the new has come. Believing we are unworthy is saying that our past is not worthy to be forgiven. In that place, we live in dead skin. God never calls us unworthy. He says something completely different, “This is how much I love you, I gave my Son, my one and only Son. So that you would not be destroyed, by believing in Him you can have a whole and lasting life.” (John 3:16 MSG, personalized) God’s interest in salvation is not that we are worthy, it is that He loves us.

Unworthiness hinders our promised restoration. We all come to Jesus broken, it is his promise that we will be restored. That starts with the act of dying and being reborn. It continues over our lifetime. Believing the totality of God’s forgiveness can be challenging. Many of us have never experienced total and complete forgiveness from anyone. Sometimes we need help processing the past to receive the future. In my situation, I had to go into counseling. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. In the meantime, let the Word of God permeate your heart. 2 Corinthinans 5:14-15 says, “Our firm decision is to work from this focused center: One man died for everyone. That puts everyone in the same boat. He included everyone in his death so that everyone could also be included in his life, a resurrection life, a far better life than people ever lived on their own. It goes on saying, God gave us a “fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins.” (v19) Salvation is your fresh start. “The old life is gone; a new life burgeons.” (v.17)