There’s a time when you screw up and everyone knows it and you try to hide it: but God can still explode the consequences with His grace. That’s why it’s grace.
If you don’t think so, there’s this book called the Bible which talks about a cross where Jesus paid for that so you wouldn’t have to. True story.
It means you can stop hiding from yourself and let go of what people say about you.
Recently a megachurch pastor took down his entire backlog of sermon podcasts because of his “growth” in doctrinal knowledge. Any sermons before a certain time period were apparently no longer a reflection of his current beliefs.
In a few years, will this pastor continue to delete old sermons? Will any of his sermons today still stand up to future scrutiny? Does this mean that anyone who attended his church in the past did not grow from those deleted sermons? Wasn’t God working then too?
A popular Christian blogger recently tore apart a popular Christian book on marriage by a megachurch pastor. The blogger remarked that she found it atrocious the pastor admitted to severe marriage problems: because the timing implies that this pastor was still preaching while he was living in sin.
But by this blogger’s logic, this would disqualify every single pastor ever from preaching or serving, much less being saved by God’s grace. Sin is sin, large or small. Is there really no value in this pastor’s book or ministry or life? If all our secrets are displayed for everyone to see, does this instantly cancel every good thing we have ever done?
If we’re limiting God’s graciousness to our own human ideas of fairness, then every one of us should have burst into flames at birth. Absolutely no one is worthy to merit God’s favor: but here we are, Christian or not, meriting the breath to breathe and thoughts to think and lives to live, and Christian or not, we are still under the same God with the same standard who offers the same grace.
Anything we ever get to do of worth is by the grace of God alone. God works in spite of the mixed mess of our motives and in the midst of our secret double lives. No human sees the full scope of this: we can only plead for the grace.
I’m glad a pastor has the humility to confess his old sermons are probably not orthodox anymore, and I’m also bothered by a pastor who has confessed that he was preaching on marriage while his own marriage was failing. But both of these thoughts can quickly ignore the God who has grace enough to cover our errors, shortcomings, imperfections, and screw-ups.
None of us get it right every time — but we can still be a vehicle for God’s perfect work. None of us completely understand the fullness of God’s nature or His Word — but we can still know Him, experience Him, hear from Him. None of us are ever so far from the sovereign hand of God that He can’t rescue us from a life of destruction — or else we are diminishing the soul-punching uppercut-power of God’s interrupting grace.
He can and does cover the worst of us, not because we deserve it, but exactly because we cannot.
Continue reading “Grace Enough For Your Past Self: God Working In Spite Of Screw-Ups”