Where do we start? A lot of times the beginning is not the best place to start, but this time, we will start there anyway…
When God made it all, it was good. Sadly, though, sometime after God breathed life into Adam, he made the decision to disobey God (as have each of us since). Adam’s sin, and ours, have separated us from this Holy and Perfect God. As individuals, we no longer have a “right” relationship with Him… as Paul notes in his letter to the Ephesians, “you were dead in your transgressions and sins” (two other words to describe our sin are “disobedience” and “wrongness”). Sounds kinda like "Night of the Living Dead", doesnt it? (Ephesians 2:1)
Sadly for God, He had created us out of an out-flowing of love, and now we were separated from Him! Although it was sad for Him, it was lethal for us. Separated from our Creator, we are truly lost – and most of us feel it inside. Even the most prideful, when alone and quiet, recognize eternity in their hearts and how alone we feel without Him. God, unwilling to cease to be a just God, designed a plan by which we can be restored to that right relationship to Him. Sin must be paid for, but who can pay for the sins of a fallen race? That’s where Jesus comes in.
Human beings are unable to create Holiness. We can’t fix our own problems. No amount of effort gets us any closer to being morally perfect. Who has moral perfection? God. It only makes sense then, that if perfection or holiness is what we need, we better go to God to get it. God sent His Son to pay the price for our sins and to offer that right relationship with our Creator… so that as His children, we can truly be home where we belong.
It is an important note that this offer is a gift, not a “deal” or a “loan” or anything else – a free gift! That letter to the church in Ephesus goes on to say
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in 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 as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
(Eph 2:4-9, NASU)
Many of us have never been introduced to this God, described as “rich in mercy” and having “grace in kindness” and “great love.” Too many have only known of a legalistic “rules to live by” God who we have wanted to avoid. Grace and Mercy are the truth about Him, though. He is Great and Mighty and Holy and Right, and He loves you more than you can possibly imagine!