Life at its Best: God's grace isn't based on our goodness; it's based on His
It's not often that one small sentence can completely change a lifetime of thinking. But D.L. Moody once said something that changed my thoughts on our salvation forever. He said, "God doesn't seek for golden vessels and doesn't ask for silver ones, but He must have cleansed ones."
It's a common assumption that salvation is a result of good deeds. It was my mindset growing up. I thought if I did enough good and lived as right as I could, God would let me into heaven.
It wasn't until my senior year of high school that I realized that God isn't a do-right, get-right kind of God. His desire isn't that we simply follow a set of rules, but that we have a personal relationship with Him. Then, out of that personal relationship grows a desire to please God with our actions.
Jesus taught Peter this truth in John 13. It was the day of the feast of the Passover, and Jesus and His disciples were about to eat. After everyone sat down, Jesus got up and grabbed a basin from the back room. He filled it with water, tied a towel around His waist and began washing the disciples' feet.
When Peter's turn came, he refused, saying, "Lord, you will never wash my feet." He didn't feel worthy of having his master wash his feet. But Jesus replied, "Unless I wash you, you have no part with me."
Often, many of us respond like Peter. We reject God's offer to make us clean because we feel unworthy. We try to do more right, hoping to make ourselves more deserving of God's love. But the truth is, no amount of good we ever do could make us worthy. So aren't you glad it's not up to us to earn it?
In John 15:16, Jesus says, "You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit." Ultimately, it's not our own choices that qualify us for God's salvation; it's the choice Jesus made to cleanse us and claim us as His that enables us to receive it.
He chooses to make us clean, not because of who we are or what we've done, but because of who He is. As a compassionate Father, He wants to cleanse and bless every part of our life, but it's up to us to choose His love.
Sure, there'll be days when we feel unworthy and are tempted to let condemnation settle in, but we must remember that His grace isn't based on our goodness; it's based on His.
If you're having a hard time receiving God's love or are wearing yourself out trying to earn it, I hope your mindset changes like mine did 35 years ago. Once it does, your life will never be the same. There has never been and will never be a greater love.
Jim Graff is the Senior Pastor of Faith Family Church in Victoria. faithfamilyvictoria.com.