[bra_dropcaps style="dropcap1"]I[/bra_dropcaps]‘ll never forget driving in my car listening to a sermon (by a preacher I will not name) titled “Is it too late?” The premise of the message was that God is done with America and might just be done with you too. He talked about blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, trampling on the grace of God and getting to a place of no return with our sin. He reminded us that, “God will not strive with men forever.” Oh yah, I WAS SIXTEEN! I remember the dark cloud of condemnation that filled my car as I drove down I-25 from Albuquerque to my house in Belen. That day I believed a lie that would cripple my walk with God for years.
For the first time I believed God and I were enemies and that I was in trouble! Just two years prior, I felt life giving conviction and holy love when I got saved. This was nothing like that. I felt alone, cold, totally helpless and I began a journey of trying to please God with my good works. Anytime I would sin I would feel terrible. It was never because I was convicted but because I was reminded that I probably wasn’t saved and should just give up. No one talked to me about my raging hormones as a teenager, how to forgive others and myself and most importantly THE GOSPEL.
The Gospel? I had no clue. Justification by faith? Never heard of it! 2nd Corinthians 5? Galatians 3? Romans 8? John 3? The new birth? The book of Collosions? NOPE. I only knew Old Testament principles and a few out of context New Testament verses. Are those bad? Of course not! I just had no idea what happened on the cross or why the resurrection was important. I didn’t know that God’s love for me is WAY more important than my love for him.
Honestly, it wasn’t until I was twenty-six (yup, ten years later) that I had my first revelation of God’s love. It was teachings by Judah Smith, Joseph Prince and others that were helpful in my understanding of Jesus. Many are uncomfortable with “the grace message” but all I know is, it worked for me. I’ve never had more personal victory, loved people and God more and felt so loved by God. No theology is perfect but if a theology causes faith, worship and holiness, I am for it!
Recently, I felt like I had another defining moment as I was reading the life of Abraham. Genesis chapter twelve gives us the story of Gods initial conversation with Abram. God could have said A LOT in this conversation but he chose to reveal to Abram a part of his character and nature that I think we often ignore. He tells Abram,”I’m going to bless you, protect you, multiply you and make you a blessing.” (Make you like me). WOW.
As God was forming both a religion and a race of people, He felt it important in its foundation to establish his generosity, strength, creative power and ability to bless. If God thought it was important to share this with the man who would become the father of our faith; I believe it is important not only that we believe it but also preach it! God is good, period. There is no room for boasting about our goodness. Faith and grace are a gift.
[bra_highlight style="highlight1"] God is good! [/bra_highlight] When we realize and receive His love for us, we will love, worship and obey Him. It is not too late for you! God has a plan for you and loves you. Let him break off every mental barrier and stronghold that is standing in the way of you knowing you are loved.