August 4, 2013 by lellielieb
“Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.” Romans 4:4
My senior students will write a Personal Manifesto this fall in my Worldview class. In it they will answer questions that will help them to formulate in writing what they believe and why they believe it. This is an important step for them to take before entering college next year. If I were writing a Personal Manifesto of my own, and I’m thinking about doing just that, I KNOW I would have to include the above verse somewhere in my paper because if I had understood it earlier, it would have saved a world of frustration and I would have had much more time to glorify, and rest in the presence and grace of, my God.
I’ve heard a lot of sermons about the fact that salvation is by grace. I took doctrines classes that taught me to parrot this truth, and even made me learn verses to back it up. At the same time, though, I was getting the idea that the Christian life was a list of do’s and don’ts and that God’s approval of me and blessings to me were dependant on how well I stuck to the list. I was pretty good at sticking to the list. So, as the verse above states so plainly, I reckoned that God owed me. I was good, I played by the rules, I should have the big reward. I had no understanding of grace. I didn’t know that I was unable to meet the standard. I was blind to the pride and the envy and the other “inside” sins that God wanted to purge. So, when things started going poorly, I was depressed, then angry, and bitter. I raged against the injustice of it all, just as I would if my employer told me I wasn’t going to get this month’s pay check.
I had to come to the end of myself. I had to understand that all is grace, that I can DO nothing. I had to really come to understand the book of Romans, which is something I never really got before. It seemed so intricate in its arguments, so inaccessible, so repetitive. Salvation IS by grace, but so is the rest of life. All is grace. So, I come to this reading of Romans knowing that even my reading is by grace. It is by grace that I opened my eyes this morning, by grace that I take in each breath. It will be grace that allows me to worship with my church family this morning, and by grace I will sit down to lunch with my family. I understand grace, and I am filled with gratitude.