Last week I was talking with a few friends about God’s abundant grace.
All of our minds battled thoughts of judgment and fear as we fleshed out the end times or when we would finally meet our Maker.
Fear of death.
Fear of sin.
Fear of judgment.
Fear of God listing that one time we did that one thing.
Fear of the bulk of our sins outweighing our good deeds.
Ultimate fear: fear of disappointing God.
Sadly it seemed fear had motivated our faith until somewhat recently. Most of us grew up obeying God because that is what we were told, not out of a response of Love. What a shallow revelation of the New Testament—the New Covenant that invites us into a relationship with Jesus, God’s personalization of Himself.
If we go through the motions out of fear, there is little room left for passionate, sold out love of God.
These are a few profound revelations I have been processing and growing to understand over the past year that have rocked my world and allowed me to fear less and love more.
- Jesus died for our sins past, present and future. Nothing you ever do will surprise Him or take Him off guard. He knows what you did and will do, and He died for those very sins.
- The Old Testament Law has been fulfilled by Jesus—completely. He has completed each letter of the law, fulfilling each step we never could. We are not bound to its regulations or held captive by its impossible rules. This is what Jesus has set us free from! As Paul says in Romans 6, this does not mean we keep on sinning, but that when we truly understand what has been done for us, out of gratitude, we will leave our sins behind and pursue holiness only found in Christ, only possible through Christ.
- Our sins are forgiven. No if, ands or buts about it.
For the longest time I struggled with a vision of a vast auditorium…something like the Hubert Humphry Metrodome. I had died and was sitting in the stadium waiting for my judgement. Silence filled the formally rowdy dome with a sharp contrast of previous earthly joy (or, if you are a Vikings fan, anger and frustration) and now heavenly judgment. When my name was called I would walk sheepishly toward a big oak desk, unable to see the face of the one who sat with a mallet in His right hand. With His left hand he would pull out a drawer that spread the distance of the field. There would be files upon files of sins, wrongdoings and offenses to the law. There I would sit and wait on edge as the Man with the mallet would determine if that file was larger than the one containing my good deeds and pure thoughts. These images have followed me since I was a little girl and caused me to see God as less of a Father and more of an evil Judge Judy.
Throughout this past year God has rocked this vision into one much more beautiful by revealing to me His grace. He has shown me that if there even was a file, it would be empty. Forgotten. Forgiven. Crucified with Christ 2,000 years ago.
Jesus was judged in my place.
As I explained this series of events to a friend, she expressed how she had similar fears and was recently told an even happier ending, that when she would open her file there would be one sheet of paper, signed by one name, written in blood, “Jesus.”
I don’t have it all figured out, but slowly Jesus is becoming much more real to me and His love and grace much more powerful than ever before. Sure, there is a healthy fear of God, but is this fear keeping you from knowing Him, trusting Him personally?
We can’t let fear or the fulfilled Old Testament Law keep us from true Freedom in Jesus. Being bogged down by old sins and condemnation only suppresses the Victory that is inside of us.
Friends, do you know how precious you are to Him?
What does true freedom in Jesus look like to you?
“The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.” Isaiah 29:13