Sunday, October 26, 2014

Grace

I am a Christian.  I have never kept that a secret.  Every so often, I feel like writing about my beliefs and observations as a Christian.  Today is one of those times.  I don't particularly care if someone disagrees with me--that's their right as someone who has free will and a brain.  I don't particularly care if someone gets offended.  That, too, is their right.  Just as it is my right to disregard any butt-hurt offended snits thrown by anyone who chooses to.

There is not a single person, living or dead (other than the obvious) that deserves, outright, to get into heaven through their own efforts.  Not one. 

Should God judge us all as we deserve, every last human being would go to hell when they died. 

And we would, but for one thing: grace.  The gift that Christ died to give us.

What is grace?  To put it simply, grace is forgiveness.  We sin, we feel remorse, we are forgiven.  We repent, and we start fresh to try again. 

We are not meant to dwell on our sinful nature, but to try to overcome it.  Dwelling on it and wallowing in guilt, believing that we are the scum of the earth is the sin that ultimately damned Faust in the play: if he couldn't use his deal with the devil to become the greatest, then he would, even given the chance to repent and go to heaven, be the most damned.  He, in his pride, wallowed in his guilt, in his sins. 

That feeling of overwhelming guilt prevents us from moving forward, from starting fresh.  That feeling of overwhelming guilt that we are sinners leads directly into despair, into feeling helpless against our lower natures.  Leads us directly into no longer trying to be better, to try harder to conquer that lower nature.  Leads us into spiritual sloth.

Christ's admonition to those he healed was "Go, and sin no more."  However, I think the translation may have missed nuance.  I think what he means for us to do is to never stop trying to conquer the impulse to sin, to do what we are not supposed to do, or to not do those things we know we must. 

The difference is grace: the forgiveness that permits us to get up and try again to be the people that God wants us to be.

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