Need a Second Chance?
In my last blog I wrote, “I can’t think of anyone who doesn’t deserve God’s grace in a second chance.” Someone sent a few names. Mel Gibson, Mike Tyson, Michael Vick, Troy Davis, Casey Anthony… You get the idea. That list should probably include the apostle Paul, David, and uh…me. I feel like I’m the greatest sinner I know, and yet I awake each morning to find mercy staring me in the face. The Bible teaches that if God would count iniquity, who would stand? Psalm 130:3 Certainly not me.
And yet, the solution to sin isn’t to impose an even stricter code of behavior, it’s to know God. At times in life it feels like we’re on a perpetual Stairmaster, trying to obey a system of rules rather than trusting in the complete sacrifice of Christ, who brings ultimate freedom. Leave the Stairmaster in the gym. No wonder so many people have no interest in going through church doors. Legalism makes apostasy easy. Simply leave out our personal response and make it all about personal responsibility and there you have it. Who in the world would feel at home in their Father’s house when you’re greatest awareness is not the risen Christ, but the fallen you.
For whatever reason I don’t know, For the last 30 years God has allowed me to sit behind a piano week after week and declare His power to free and forgive sinners. I recently went back to the church I attended 20 years ago and shared my journey through a tough time in life. I felt encouraged by the words of Philip Yancey, “The proof of spiritual maturity is not how pure you are, but awareness of your impurity.” That very awareness opens the door of grace. And where does the door of grace take us? Right into worship. We worship because without it we can forget that we have a big God who is for us. We worship because without it we can forget His calling and begin to create and worship lesser gods. We worship because without it we lose a sense of wonder and gratitude, and plod through life with blinders on. And we worship because our natural tendency is toward self-centeredness that destroys our relationships with others. Oh, don’t forget, we worship the Lord because He deserves it and His word says to. “Worship the LORD with reverence…and rejoice with trembling.” (Psalm 2)