He Still Loves Us
The most overwhelming aspect of my personal testimony is the fact that God forgave all my sins and accepted me into the kingdom—“just as I am.”
Even today, so many years later, I marvel at the enormity of His forgiveness. I didn’t have to clean up my previous life; the fact is, I couldn’t change what had already happened.
My past was loaded with ugly, selfish thoughts and actions. But when I invited Jesus into my life, everything I had ever done was forgiven by God. Wiped clean! I mean everything. It was a new beginning, the old was gone. I had a second shot at a holy life.
With the sins of the past erased, the question became: “What will I do with my present, and my future?”
I knew God’s love would never fail me. I knew the Holy Spirit now indwelled my very being. And I wanted very much to be the kind of person Jesus wanted me to be. But how?
Very early in my walk with Jesus, I became aware of (and a big fan of) Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV).
“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.”
I didn’t do it, I didn’t earn it, but He did it all. By grace, He gave me salvation. But how was I ever going to be good enough to maintain the salvation that He had freely given?
Grace And Mercy
The good news is that not only was I saved by grace, but I am going to live by it. In John 10:10 (ESV) Jesus tells us, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
As imperfect humans, how could we live the abundant life except through grace? As long as we live in these earthly bodies, we are going to be plagued by sin. We will need continuous and ongoing forgiveness. So God, in His everlasting mercy, extended to us an ongoing grace by which all believers will live.
With this in mind, we must now consider Ephesians 2:10, the verse immediately following the stark reality of verses 8 and 9. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
Obviously then, we’re going to need that extended grace from God. He has a specific task for each of us to do. It’s our ‘calling.’ And whenever God calls, He equips. We have the Holy Spirit indwelling us, empowering us with Spiritual gifts (2 Corinthians chapters 11 and 12) and fortifying our hearts with the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22, 23). He is our guide, our advocate, our comforter, our teacher. In addition, we have the promise, “With God, all things are possible.” [Mark 19:26]
We can do this. With God’s grace and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, we can maintain the abundant life for which Jesus died on our behalf.
We were saved by grace. And by grace, we now live.