God's Ridiculous Grace
Reactions to church and religion are about as various as each person. What we believe is influenced by so many different factors--how we were raised, where we live, what we watch, what we read, what our friends believe, etc. There are so many different voices. These voices and our various reactions have a tendency to draw us into church--or keep us away. When we equate religion to church, we can stumble.
Danny defined religion as us reaching for God.
So why does religion cause so many to stumble? Because us reaching God is as ridiculous as a T-rex making a bed, taking a selfie, clapping its hands,...
So when we approach church as religion and use it as a way to get on God’s good side, to reach God, we struggle.
Maybe some of you have met big-headed T-rexes, ridiculously arrogant hypocrites who have defined what it means to be good based on what they’re capable of (which doesn’t include doing pushups). Maybe some of you have spent your lives trying to be the best T-rex you can be. Maybe your striving turned you into a vicious carnivore, willing to take out anyone or anything that got in your way. Maybe your striving left you frustrated by your own inability to reach what you want.
Thank God, He offers something better than religion. He offers us grace.
God’s grace is different than religion.
Grace is God reaching for us.
Grace is Jesus.
Grace is Jesus taking on our weaknesses to reveal His perfect love.
The servant grew up before God—a scrawny seedling,
a scrubby plant in a parched field.
There was nothing attractive about him,
nothing to cause us to take a second look.
He was looked down on and passed over,
a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand.
One look at him and people turned away.
We looked down on him, thought he was scum.
But the fact is, it was our pains he carried—
our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us.
We thought he brought it on himself,
that God was punishing him for his own failures.
But it was our sins that did that to him,
that ripped and tore and crushed him—our sins!
He took the punishment, and that made us whole.
Through his bruises we get healed.
We’re all like sheep who’ve wandered off and gotten lost.
We’ve all done our own thing, gone our own way.
And God has piled all our sins, everything we’ve done wrong,
on him, on him. (Isaiah 53:2-6, MSG)
Religion, us trying to reach God, is as ridiculous as a T-rex trying to do pushups. But that’s what makes God’s grace even more beautifully ridiculous. God took on our pains and disfigurements and sins.
Maybe you’re struggling because your big-headed pride keeps getting in the way. Maybe you’re struggling because your little arms are too weak, too short, too pathetic. Maybe you’re struggling because you’re mean and angry. Maybe you’re struggling because you desperately want to love but you just can’t reach out and your inability is a good excuse to cover up a deeply rooted fear.
Grace says, “Yup, you’ve got some issues. But I’ve taken care of it.”
Since we’ve compiled this long and sorry record as sinners and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ. (Romans 3:24, MSG)
Religion asks, “Why does Jesus ‘eat with such scum’?” And Grace responds, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor--sick people do.” ((Matthew 9:11,13, NLT)
See, Jesus didn’t come to play the game of religion, and religion saw Him as scum because he didn’t play by their rules. And when He was questioned for seeking those who knew they weren’t capable of reaching Him by their own strength, for seeking those who knew their arms were too short and their pride too big, Jesus told the religious: “I want you to be merciful; I don’t want your sacrifices.”
Jesus doesn’t need religion. Jesus doesn’t want religion.
Jesus seeks people--the religious and the not religious; the arrogant and the disfigured; the successful and the failures.
Jesus seeks the lost. And we are all lost. We are all inadequate of reaching God on our own.
He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn’t been so weak, we wouldn’t have known what to do anyway. We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him. (Romans 5:6-8, MSG)
God is offering you His ridiculously amazing grace. If you haven’t accepted it, He’s waiting. But don’t worry; you don’t need to reach Him.
He’s already reaching you.
If you have accepted God’s grace, who better to understand a T-rex than another T-rex? So, who do you know who needs a hug of God’s grace?
And, in God’s grace, even our weaknesses become a strength.