I’ve been meaning to write this post for a long time. The reason I’ve put it off is that it’s an important post, and those are always the hardest to write.
Occasionally, when I think I’ve discovered some amazing spiritual insight, I glance at one of C.S. Lewis’s books and realize he discovered it first. Since it’s hard to write blog posts about important things like grace, I’ll let Lewis handle the introduction.
Take it away, Jack!
Thus, in one sense, the road back to God is a road of moral effort, of trying harder and harder. But in another sense it is not trying that is ever going to bring us home. All this trying leads up to the vital moment at which you turn to God and say, “You must do this. I can’t.”
I know God has saved me by grace, but that hasn’t stopped me from trying to be good enough.
Then, some time ago, I began to understand.
I’m not good enough.
I’ve never been.
I shan’t ever be.
God doesn’t expect me to be good enough. Nowhere in the Bible does God say, “Unless you meet my standards, I won’t love you.” I don’t deserve God’s love. Grace is a gift, and it’s finally making sense. I don’t have to earn anything.
Of course, that doesn’t mean I can stop trying to be good.
To quote C.S. Lewis again, living by grace doesn’t mean merely trying to do good things,
But trying in a new way, a less worried way. Not doing these things in order to be saved, but because He has begun to save you already. Not hoping to get to Heaven as a reward for your actions, but inevitably wanting to act in a certain way because a first faint gleam of Heaven is already inside you.
God isn’t commanding me to be good enough. He’s asking me to give him my best. When—not if but when—my best isn’t good enough, his grace covers the rest.
Christmas began as a celebration of Christ’s birth. Christ was born to die. He died and rose again to give us life, not to burden us with impossible demands. At its heart, Christmas is a celebration of grace.
We’re not good enough, but we don’t have to be. God’s grace is good enough, and that’s what matters. We must give him our best. The rest is up to him.
Happy Christmas, dear reader!