One of my favorite books is Transforming Grace, by Jerry Bridges.
It is a simple, but profound and deeply helpful exploration into what it means to live by faith in the justifying, adopting, and sanctifying grace of God.
Concerning justification, he writes,
“The Bible never speaks of God’s grace as simply making up for our deficiencies.”
It’s not that I try my best and God does the rest. He doesn’t do his part then require me “to do my part.”
A thousand times, no!
Paul says in Romans 5:6 that Christ “died for the ungodly.” Period.
Pause and let that soak in.
He came for the ungodly! Not the well but the sick. Not the righteous but the unrighteous.
This is a staggering message for the world of religion. It undermines everything we naturally think about how God relates to humans.
But this is the message of the gospel. As Paul wrote to Timothy, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.”
Sometimes I intentionally misread that text to see if folks are paying attention. I’ll say, “Jesus was sent by the Father into the world to rescue the reasonably decent, good people.”
Or this, “Jesus was sent to teach us how to get our acts together and do right.”
According to Paul, Jesus didn’t come to make good people better or to save those who are trying their best.
He came for those who know they can never be good enough.
The good news of the gospel is that Jesus took my ungodliness upon himself at the cross so I could receive and possess his godliness through faith.
This is what compels those with eyes to see and ears to hear to cry out, “Have mercy on me, a sinner!”
By the way, that is a prayer God always, always answers, “Yes!”
Because that is why Jesus came.
Grace doesn’t make up for our deficiencies. No, it is so much better.
- About Mustard Seed Discipleship
- Meet McKay Caston
- Theological Foundations
- Discover Our Content Philosophy
- Discover the Three Core Doctrines That Guide Us