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Easter is a 2000 year old story of reconciliation. But how can there be reconciliation when the difference between us and God are like night & day? A sacrifice had to be made, and it couldn't come from us. It had to come from God. And this is the story of Easter. Jesus paid for the gap between God's level of perfection and our level of morality. The gap represents the separation between us and God caused by our rebellion against God; refusing to live for God, fighting against Him, & disobeying Him. The gap between God's level of perfection & our level of morality is called SIN. Rom 3:23-24: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. Sin is a biblical term which means missing the mark. Sin causes the gap of separation between us & God. You might thinking right now that you are a moral person & you're probably are. You might even say that you think that you are more moral that a lot of Christians you know-could be. You were probably raised to be a moral person. But, God is not comparing your level of morality with another person's level of morality... It's between your level of morality & God's level of perfection. The question you must ultimately answer is simply this: is there a gap between the two? The bible is very clear on the answer....there is a gap! What are you going to do about your gap? But. I got "good news....." Jesus death on the Cross "RECONCILED" the gap of separation between us & God! 2 Cor. 5:18, 19, reads: 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation(reconciled 2 reconcile).that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. One cross-one man...bridged the gap between us & God-forever! All of this is from God who RECONCILED us to himself through JESUS CHRIST.... The cross bridged the gap between us & God. Why? God is seeking to save that which was lost to Him.
If you haven't surrendered your life to Jesus Christ, God is seeking after you! Jesus RECONCILED the gap between God's level of perfection & our level of morality. So, No matter where you are on the morality scale, Jesus makes us the difference! When you put your faith in Jesus, the gap go's away. Because Christ took the gap away.... The lost relationship between us and God could be restored. RECONCILE means to bring together. It's the idea that two persons who should have been together all along are brought by together. You are meant to be in God...you were destined to be a Christ follower. RECONCILE does not mean you are sinless or perfect.
It means that God has taken away the gap by accrediting to your account Christ’s perfection.
Now get this: The cross became the bridge into the presence of God. I'm no longer an enemy, I am a child. I was lost, but now I'm found. When I pray, I cry out...abba father. Whatever you were lacking, it was RECONCILED by the Cross. You can either accept it or reject it, but you can't dictate the terms of it. The gap between God's level of perfection & your level of morality remains without the cross! Paul wrote these words in scripture: I implore you, be RECONCILED to God. Finally, when you are reconciled to God through Jesus Christ, you become sons of God-that makes you an heir of God & a joint heir with Jesus Christ. (You can discover the life you've always wanted. I'm not talking about Champaign wishes & caviar dreams....) Only when you have been RECONCILED can discover the depths of God's love & life in the Spirit.
There is a key ingredient we all need to maintain our upward trajectory of faith, and that key ingredient is called "GRACE." When you step up your faith, occasionally you will stumble & fall. Grace picks you up when you fall. Trying to take your faith to the next level without incorporating grace is a waste. In a few minutes, I'll tell you why! The word GRACE is only found in the vocabulary of the church. You won’t find it used in high school or college, you won't find it used in your profession or vocation. Grace or Klar` ece commonly means unmerited, or undeserved favor! The grace of God is more than we deserve, and greater than we can imagine. This isn’t the wimpy grace that politely occupies a phrase in a hymn song or fit nicely on a Church sign; this grace is a trouble maker; it turns your world upside down & inside out; this grace will invade your privacy; this grace will forever change your life!
GRACE is a gift of God that cannot be earned! In Ephesians 2:8, 9, 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. You earn your degrees... Build your business with sweat & tears.... When you work hard to succeed, those are proud moments of accomplishments because of your hard work. God gets the glory, but you get the credit... If you don't do the work, you don't get the credit. But you don't earn God's GRACE....read Eph. 2:8, 9 Work says do, GRACE says done! Grace is more than we deserve, and greater than we can imagine. So when you mess up, GRACE says you can fess up. I need to fess up my mess ups often....because at every level of my faith, I falter. Remember, taking your faith to the next level is becoming more like Jesus, and I am a long way from being like Jesus. This is why I said, "trying to take your faith to the next level without incorporating grace is a waste." When you don't incorporate GRACE in your upward trajectory of faith, You falter to feelings of condemnation, guilt, doubt, & unbelief. You need to know that when you mess up, grace says you can get back up! GRACE is God's Riches At Christ's Expense. GRACE is amazing because it is more than we deserve & greater than we can imagine, but it came at a high price. The cost was the precious blood of Jesus. His blood wasn't taken with a syringe by a competent nursery....it was brutal. It was horrific; it was bloody; it was unforgettable for all who witnessed it. The Bible warns us not to.. "set aside the grace of God." Gal. 2:21. "For if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!"
If we could grow our faith with mere human efforts, GRACE wouldn't be needed. We wouldn’t be able to fully comprehend the riches of God's grace if Christ hadn’t demonstrated it on the cross. He died so that you could live. He was rejected so that you could be accepted.
GRACE is the gospel of another chance. Romans 3:23, 24: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, I faltered a long time ago, but grace gave me another chance. Grace gives you time & space to get right with God. Grace will conquer a multitudes of mess ups in your life. God wants you to leave here today walking in His GRACE. He wants you liberated by Grace.... God is inviting you today, to step up for GRACE. Taking your faith to the next level is the TRANFORMATION OF GRACE....God wants you to step up for GRACE, & invite others to the table of GRACE. There is more than enough GRACE to go around.