Have you ever been forgiven for doing something wrong? How did that feel?
Many people think that being a Christian means simply obeying a list of rules. To be a Christian is to be nice and well behaved. Maybe God is like a parent telling us to clean our rooms or eat our vegetables.
But being a Christian isn’t about being good in order to make God happy.
Instead Christianity is about a God who is happy because of Jesus, and his making us good through Jesus. In the book of Romans Paul explains being a Christian like this:
Romans 3:23-24. 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.
We all start out as sinners. We are all completely unable to please God. We all fall short of God and his glory and his grace. Like an arrow that can’t quite reach the target.
Are you a sinner? Have you fallen short of God’s glory? His goodness and perfection? (the answer is yes)
But the good news is that God’s grace has “justified” us. Do you know what “justified” means? Someone who has been justified has been declared NOT GUILTY. They have been made right with God. Because of Jesus we are seen by God as being as perfect as he is.
And this is why our relationship with God isn’t just about obeying rules. Yes, we obey God, but we also love God and get to know God better and better. It’s very much like your relationship with your mom and dad, or grandparents. Should you obey them? Yes. But if you obey your mom and dad without loving them or trusting them then you don’t really have much of a relationship with them. What your parents want even more than obedience is for you to love and trust each other.
And now, because of what Jesus has done for us on the cross, because God loves us no matter what, that relationship of trusting God is possible
Because of Jesus we have been justified by grace.
With Jesus we can love and trust God with our whole life.
DO SOMETHING TOGETHER
Have everyone find something that they received as a gift. Then have everyone find something that they bought with money they earned. Talk about the difference between a gift and a payment. God’s justification is a gift that we could never pay for.
Because of you I have been declared not guilty. Now I can freely love and trust you without trying to earn your love.
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