There once were two men. One said, “I fast twice a week”; the other said, “God be merciful to me a sinner.” Only one went down to his house justified (Lk. 18:12-14). Human religious duty or self-effort, and all our “righteous deeds are like a polluted garment” [Isaiah 64: 6] or a “menstruous rag” before God’s holiness (Lev. 15:33; 20:18; La. 1:17). All have sinned and fallen short of God’s standard (Romans 6: 23).
But God, in His great love & mercy, made Jesus, “who knew no sin” to be sin for us (2 Corinthians 5: 21). He took our personal sins and put it on His blameless son on the Cross. Then He took His son’s righteousness and put it to our account. We deserve wrath, but He saved us by Grace through faith; not by works so that no one may boast (Eph. 2: 8). God gets all the glory for what He alone can do.
Grace changes how you treat others, because grace is how God treats you as a sinner (not judgment). He forgave all your debts toward Him, so that you may treat others in the same way (Matthew 18: 21-25). Never outgrow your need of the Gospel! If you want power with God, power for living and power for Gospel witnessing, “the Gospel is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes” (Romans 1: 16). In it the righteousness of God (not man) is revealed. The Gospel is all about Jesus & His saving grace! Grace changes everything! This New Year 2011, may God give you the Grace to live a Gospel-centered & Grace-centered life for Him!