“For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and not of yourself, it is a gift of God, lest anyone should boast.” Ephesians 2:8
“I wish I was still considered respectable. If only I had not committed that sin then I could feel better about myself…that I was still good, that I would still be considered acceptable. I am just so weary of having to depend on grace.” No sooner did that thought roll through my brain when one from God came in “Were you good before? Shouldn’t you have been clinging to My grace all along? You may have not committed this sin before, but didn’t you still need My grace before as desperately as you understand you need it now?” Wow, that was quite a revelation. Then over the next couple weeks He continued speaking to me by revealing that “this sin, however horrible and hurtful, served a purpose in that it revealed to you that you were THIS wretched before, you just didn’t think you were, because for all outward appearances, you seemed upright and were acceptable to others. You did all the right things, you said the right words, you reacted to things the way other ‘respectable’ acquaintances expected you to. I have given you a gift in the sense that I have humbled you to such a degree that you now understand your depravity; not just your depravity now but throughout your whole life. The goodness or respectability of your former life on which you were depending, whether it was something you thought of yourself or by the way others thought of you, was a false security, and let me add incredibly prideful. Although you were My child and you pursued obedience, and although you were taught and knew intellectually that you needed My grace, you didn’t understand or believe your depravity and how My grace was needed so completely.” After opening my eyes to this reality, it’s a very humbling trip back in time to when I relied completely on my own respectability or goodness, and to see my attitude for what it really was, prideful and abhorably boastful. It really is by grace that we are saved (and sustained) and it has nothing to do with ourselves, and if we think that we have anything good, however small, to offer apart from what He allows us to be or do, we are so deceived.
I have often wondered if my sin had not been publically revealed or if I had done the right thing and walked away from the sinful choices I was making, would I have learned this incredible lesson about grace? Would I have understood so significantly and personally that without grace I was and am completely lost? I NEVER again want to be the source of hurt that I was to others or endure the consequences that I brought on, and oh how I wish I hadn’t, but the rich things I am learning about God and about me are priceless.