I have been pondering lately what it means to live under grace, especially in comparison to living under the law (Rom 6.14). I have come to think of this as the “horrible wonderful.”
To be under grace means to be under its influence, sway and control. There is a readiness to identify sin, to confess sin, to focus on the cross and to fight for a stance of integrity in relationships that flees the bob-and-weave of hiding.
That means I expose more of who I really am to both myself and others – and leads to the horrible wonderful. My sins and the sins of my friends are much more obvious, so we become much less in each other’s sight. There is less energy directed to impressing them and they become, for lack of a better term, less impressive to me. I stop viewing people as a means to personal validation or as celebrities to emulate.
This would all lead to despair if not for the cross. Now that “horrible wonderful” of God dying for sinners dominates my horizon. I need a Saviour – not just once to “get me into heaven,” but I need an ongoing, life-giving, sin-forgiving, atonement-offering Saviour. And I see over and again how horrible my sin is in its nature as I consider the Crucified One bearing it and the Father’s wrath. And I start to feel how wonderful it all is, that without any drawing influence in me, Christ died for my sins.
I also begin to see people through the cross – they need a Saviour. And I don’t need them to be anything other than what they really are. My goal becomes to elevate Jesus when I am with them for I know that He is life.
All in all, fellowship changes colour – from “coffee after church” to sinners gathered; all equalized by debilitating sin, all guilty of the same sins (albeit in different expressions) and all looking to the same horrible, yet wonderful solution: the cross of JESUS.
Suddenly, the Holy Spirit becomes vitally important, moment by moment.