Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Grace in a Coffee Pot

This is a conversation that I get into often so I'm going to write it out. 

If you were asked to describe sin most people answer:
  • Things you do that are wrong
    • or
  • When you do something that God has commanded us not to do.
    • or
  • I will get a list of different things people may view as sins.
Not that any of the above is incorrect but it's very broad and for 18 years of my life I viewed God as a Big God in Heaven who was sitting up there just waiting for us to screw up so that He could critically jot it down and hold it against us. You do something good, you get on His good side. You do something bad, you get on His bad side. Also, I viewed sins as if they had categories: Big Sins and little sins. 

Big Sins: adultery, Perpetual Stealing, murder, drugs, drinking, perpetual lying, a perpetual thief.
Little Sins: Lying, Cheating, Stealing, disobeying parents etc., etc.

Needless to say my view was ridiculously different from the truth. 
For all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God. (Romans 3:23 NIV)

Everyone is a sinner. Everyone has fallen short. We're All in need of a savior. "Big Sin" or "Little Sin" they all separate us from God.

I also used to look at it as a "To-Do List Unto Salvation".  Even though in my mind I would tell you that you couldn't earn your salvation, I still felt the need to walk a tight rope to keep from messing up and losing His favor. 
Here is a list of the "To-Do's or "Not To's" that were harped on when I was a Teen and I thought they made me a "better Christian" if I didn't do them. 
Not To:
Sex outside of Marriage
Sneaking Out
Lying to Parents
Skipping Church
Disrespecting Authority

Not that those things aren't wrong, but not doing them out of fear that you might get on God's bad side or because it gives you a sense of entitlement over other "Christians" who do mess up, is very wrong! 

If following those guidelines gives you a way to feel better about yourself or "at least I didn't do that, God. You must be pretty proud of me."  That is a completely perverse way of viewing sin.

#1: We are NEVER to compare ourselves with others. The "at least I didn't...." We are to compare ourselves ONLY to Christ!  In doing so you will Always Remain Humble.

God does not have a list of rules and regulations in order to keep us hopping and jumping through loop holes to keep from sinning, just so He can laugh and condemn whenever we screw up! He created us! He Loves us, we are screwed up vessels period. Nothing I can do in my own power can change that. Only the grace of God coming into my life and changing my heart can have any power over me.

Think about it this way...

As a wedding present someone bought me this brand new coffee maker and kitchen cleaner all in one. I mean this machine can do everything from making the best pot of coffee, to washing my dishes and scrubbing the floor. It's a brilliant machine.

But when I receive the present I take it out of the box and..."what's this?"  I can't think of a good use for it or a place to put it so I decide to use it as a paper weight on my desk, and sometimes I bang it on the table and open walnuts with it.  I never bothered to read the instruction manual.
My friend who gave it to me comes by a few years later and asks about the machine. I shamefully show her how scratched and marred it is because I didn't know what to do with it. She cleans it up and gets it back to brand new.  Then she shows me the instruction manual.  I'm blown away at all the different functions and uses.

I know that's a silly analogy but that's how the bible is. Our Creator wrote it.  In it He shows us how we are designed and how we will best function. He also says we are vessels created to worship. Created to bring Him Glory. When our lives are lived in submission to His will, that is our act of worship and that is how we function best.  He also tells us that if our vessels choose to do things which pull us away from Him, we will be miserable. 

When I came to that reality, and I understood Grace and how He took this marred, poorly used, forsaken vessel and cleaned it up; after I did all I could to destroy it, I can no longer look at another person who is in sin with a critical eye.  I now have a truly broken heart. I Desperately want them to know the joy of being made NEW!  I desperately want them to know "yeah, you're screwed up, but you have a Creator that wants to make you new!  You have a creator who desperately wants to clean you up and give you the life you were created to have!" 

John 8 NIV

1 but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.
   2 At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
   But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her. 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
   9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
   11 “No one, sir,” she said.
   “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

Oh my Jesus is full of compassion and mercy! You can't out sin His grace!  When everyone around her was ready to kill her for her offenses - Christ, God in the flesh, had compassion, mercy and forgave her!  Even if you feel no one loves you. No one cares, no one can forgive what you've done. "If they only knew where you've been."  God already knows. He was there! He's the Only One you need forgiveness from. The rest will follow by His grace!

To fellow believers who have found themselves with the same ideology as above please take heart to the following verse.

Colossians 3:12-13 (NIV)

 12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

We will not see change around us until we are willing to change ourselves!

His Clay,
Melissa Bradley

Beholding Glory


  1. Stopping by from Brag on God Fridays. Very grateful for God's grace and that he looks at our hearts.

    Edwards Granddaughter

  2. Awesome! Thank you for sharing! So glad to have found your blog. :) thanks for linking up for Brag on God Friday.