For a long time I misunderstood Christianity. I thought it was about being a good person. But eventually I realised that ‘being good’ was actually bad for my relationship with God. By trying to be good enough for God, I was trying to earn something that he’d already offered to give me, for free. Now I know that God finds this approach to life somewhat frustrating and even offensive. Let me show you what I mean...
In Ephesians 2:8-9 it says:
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”
And in Titus 3:5 is says:
“... when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.”
It was through these verses (and a bunch of others like them) that God helped me to understand grace.
Also, at a particularly difficult time in my life, when my marriage was suffering because of some personal struggles, I saw a Christian counsellor who understood God’s grace. He kept saying to me that we only achieve victory by surrender. What?! Victory by surrender. Instead of trying to do things on our own strength we have to completely throw ourselves on the mercy of God and rely on his strength.
It wasn’t about being good enough for God; it was about receiving his gift of salvation by his mercy.