04: For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8,9
I was away on a CVM sports week recently in Lanzarote, unsurprisingly it’s called the CVM Lanzarote Sports Week. We had an amazing time doing sports and in the evening discovering more about the Christian faith together.
One of the questions that came up was a really good one and one which I think a lot of people wrestle with, grace and the free gift.
The question asked was simply this; ‘So then this grace thing, if I decide to live my life as a sinful man hurting others and living for myself, I can still jump in on the grace ticket just before I die and get saved?’
The guy leading the sessions was amazing and he offered some answers around the relationship that was being missed out on between you and God, the fact that you might die in some horrific accident and miss the moment to say the ‘give me your grace Jesus’ prayer etc. But he also said this and I think he nailed it with this one:
‘To be honest guys’ he said ‘this is probably the most offensive thing about the Christian faith, that Jesus would be willing to forgive someone like that who lived a life of deliberate separation from him for so many years but then decided to trust Jesus right at the end of their lives, it is wonderfully offensive.’
I liked that, because I think he was right, it is offensive but amazing and almost too much to comprehend for me.
Jesus loved us humans that much that not only did he die for us whilst we were lost as a human race in sin and rejecting him, but he would even forgive and welcome home a person who did the death bed repentance bit.
I need to be honest here, if I was in Jesus’ shoes I wouldn’t allow that death bed bit! I would be inclined to let them know the line was busy, or they are on hold and I would get back to them in a day or so..
Jesus’ grace is offensive because we want justice and a good measure given out to the unjust but so long as we are safe and in that’s fine. I think that when my daughter gave her life to Jesus and decided to follow him there was a party in heaven and she is now exploring what that decision really means each day. The same happens when a bloke on his death bed admits the chaos his life has been and calls on the grace of Jesus as he breathes his last. There is a party in heaven, even though it was a life set on destruction, the grace and free gift of life is available to all; it doesn’t matter if we like it or not. That’s incredible and takes the idea of grace to a whole new level for me.
Jesus is amazing!
Image Credit: Ben White