“The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.” – Psalm 103:8
An act of grace that I experience everyday, but often overlook, blind-sighted me this past week.
I’m a collegiate volleyball player with only a handful of matches left before I join the NARP (Non-Athletic Regular Person – no offense intended) life. I have played 122 games under the guidance of my coaches before realizing their forgiving and gracious nature that so closely mirrors that of Jesus (If you’re reading this, thank you for doing way more than what’s required. You both are awesome!).
My coaches are disciplined. If you wear the wrong shirt to practice, or wear it inside-out in some of my teammates’ cases, you run. If the team falls short of a goal, we run. If you forget your team notebook, also jokingly referred to as the volleyball bible, you run. If you forget to collect grade reports from your professors, you run. And the list goes on and on. We have rules that we are expected to follow, and when we fall short – and all of us have – we run. After completing the fun-time (don’t let the name fool you), egg, or suicide, the incident is forgotten and we move on.
I don’t know if you’re catching my drift, after all it took me almost four complete years to realize it, but that is a pretty darn good example of God’s grace. In the Old Testament we’re given rules to follow, but we cannot live up to the expectations of those rules. Knowing that we couldn’t walk in righteousness without a crutch, God sent His son to follow all the rules in flawless fashion. What a stud. After 33 perfect years, Jesus died a criminal’s death on a cross that WE deserved as sacrifice for all of our sins – past, present, and future. All we have to do is declare and BELIEVE Jesus is Lord and that He resurrected from the dead and our sins are graciously forgiven.
Although my coaches display grace and forgiveness, our debt for breaking the rules still has to be paid. Here’s where God’s grace becomes an absolute steal for Christ followers. While my coaches say do *insert consequence* when we mess up, Jesus says our mistakes have already been forgiven at the cross. We don’t have to pay back our wages of sin because “the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Yes, God wants us to realize our mistakes, but He doesn’t want us to dwell on them. He simply wants us to repent and believe.
Although our debt has been paid, that doesn’t mean we won’t sin. Just like I have forgotten to turn in grade reports and my team has failed to reach a goal, in our walks with Christ we will face bumps in the road. During those hard times, and the good times, we’re repeatedly given God’s grace through Jesus as a crutch to help us limp through the pearly gates onto the streets of gold.
I can’t praise God enough for the beautiful example of His grace displayed through my coaches. As thankful as I am for their presence in my life, I am eternally grateful for the grace shown at the cross.
Grace and Peace,
“But God, who is abundant in mercy, because of His great love that He had for us, made us alive with the Messiah even though we were dead in trespasses. By grace you are saved!” -Ephesians 2:4-5