You Don't Need Good Advice...You Need Grace

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23

A number of years ago I was sitting downstairs in my house and wondering why it was so quiet. I had two young children at the time, and I had come to understand that when the house got quiet that meant somebody was probably doing something they shouldn’t be doing.

So, I tip-toed upstairs and threw open the bathroom door (where I presumed they were hiding). And there they sat, shoving three month old Halloween candy into their little mouths! Their instinct was to hide, and they were silly enough to think that I wouldn’t find them.

When Adam and Eve disobeyed the One who loved and cared for them, their instinct was the same…they ran and hid in the bushes. They took fig leaves and sewed them together to cover themselves. For the first time in their lives they felt fear and shame. One of our first instincts when we find that we have sinned is to try and cover it up. No one has to teach us to hide, we have found ways to do it since we were little.

Now as we get older, we find much more sophisticated ways of hiding. If we don’t want people (or God) to see our mistakes, we find ways of covering them up, or simply drawing people’s attention to all the good things we’re doing. Sometimes we even use our religion to hide behind, don’t we?

We know that we are wrong about something, so we say, “Well, I’ll be extra good now, and maybe I’ll read my Bible some more and pray extra hard!” But here’s the thing that most of us already know deep down inside, we can’t cover our sin…we can’t pay for it by being a little better. And actually, if you think about it, that’s good news. You don’t need some good advice on how to be better; what we all actually need is someone who can give us what we can’t get on our own. We need grace.

You see, right when Adam and Eve sinned God said something very important. He said, “I will do something about this…I will fix what you broke.” And then God did something really strange, he took animals and killed them and then he made clothes for Adam and Eve out of the animal’s skins. Even then God was showing us something: you can’t fix yourself and you can’t cover yourself, God must do it for you.

And there’s something else, because of their sin there must be death. In fact, he said that if you sin you will surely die. But that day, instead of killing them (as they deserved), God sacrificed these animals…he provided a substitute. And one day God would send the ultimate substitute to stand in our place, to pay the penalty for our sins so that we no longer have to hide! Of course, that substitute is Jesus, the spotless Lamb of God.

“The essence of sin is man substituting himself for God, while the essence of salvation is God substituting Himself for man.” John Stott, The Cross of Christ

Speak this truth to yourself today: There is no use in hiding for God sees me exactly as I am. And just as I am he invites me to come to him, and what he offers me is the opposite of what I deserve: he offers me grace through his son, Jesus.

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