At the end of the sermon on the mount, full of wisdom and balance for weak people walking in an impossible world: God says BE YE THEREFORE PERFECT! “How perfect, you ask?” AS PERFECT AS I AM PERFECT! He responds. RIGHT!
What is your personal response to this command? Are you like most Christians who read it and give a nod of assent but do not see it as relevant, just some sort of poetry. Or do you run right out and strive to be stronger, wiser, more nearly perfect? Or do you beat yourself up because you are clearly so far from God-like perfection? At least people who beat themselves up, see their weakness, feel dark inside when they look at the truth, are HALF WAY THERE. The rest of the way is to learn that, although in me dwells no good thing and apart from God I can do nothing: I am not apart from Him and he has made me a new creature, there is no condemnation, in me dwells THE RIGHTEOUS ONE. He has done the great alchemy, instead of merely turning lead into gold: (Ephesians 1.6) I have been made acceptable to the praise of the glory of His grace.
Watchman Nee once set himself the task of being dead to sin and alive to God. In the morning he would get up and promise to strive for deadness as the Bible says in Romans 6 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead unto sin but alive to God. In the evening he would look back on his progress and realize that he had fallen far short of the glory of God. He even fasted and prayed for 40 days. (Yes it is possible to drink only water and fast for that long.) Hoping to discover the secret to acting dead to sin and alive to God. He eventually gave up and was eating break a fast, when God asked him if he wanted to know the secret? Then God told him, “YOU CAN’T KILL DEAD PEOPLE!”
Imagine that you found a corpse and wanted to kill it. How would you tell when you had finished the job?
Of course our “corpses” have this spooky way of acting alive to sin and dead to God. So what to do?
Watchman decided to claim his deadness, picture how dead people act and then copy them in his responses to temptation. At the end of the day he would thank God for his help and that he was already dead to sin and alive to God. He stopped trying to become dead and rested in Christ.
How big is God’s grace? BIG!
If I told you it is about 27 trillion miles to the first star beyond the sun, proxima centari, do you get a picture? No! You would need something to compare it to. The fastest object we have been able to hurl into space is going 45,000 miles an hour. That’s about twice around the world in and hour. That would take 45,000 years to get to the first star. That’s far.
How can we picture a grace big enough to handle ALLMY SIN and the rest of mankind’s sin thrown in for bad measure? Well I need a measuring stick.
The measuring stick of Grace is:
to see the full height depth and breadth of the mess that I am, no minimizing, no blaming, no watering down, no attempts to balance with good deeds
then to SEE AND REST IN THAT FACT THAT GRACE IS BIGGER THAN ALL MY SIN! Wow big big big!
Those who never see glimpses of the debt they owe, who never argue with the apostle Paul as to who is the greatest sinner, they never can appreciate HOW BIG GRACE IS.