By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us—set us right with him, make us fit for him—we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus. And that's not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of God's grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.
-Romans 5:1-2 (The Message)
When I was a young boy I spent many days in the wood behind our house, building forts, cycling, climbing trees, detonating fireworks, waging imaginary wars. From time to time, my mother would stand on the back porch and yell my name, or peer out our second story window, to spy movement in the distance.
After a full day playing, exploring, and adventuring, I can remember deciding to return home, only to find that my mom had been calling my name for hours, preparing for my return, beckoning me home. I intended to throw open the door and announce my presence, but the door was opened for me.
Grace is disarming. The moment we are ready to turn, the moment we are ready to surrender, what do we find? The instant we intend to "invite Jesus into our heart," he comes crashing through the door.
And he is glad to, glad to surprise us with his grace. God invites us to enter in to his presence by faith, to experience and participate in the work of restoration and reconciliation that has been effected by the cross of Jesus Christ. It is by the cross that we have been set right, the cross raised high, drawing us home, calling out to us, loudly whispering our name, beckoning us to that place "we always hoped we might stand."
Before you take a step toward God, you will find that he has first taken a step toward you. That itself is a work of grace. This should humble us, but also cause to shout with praise, "standing tall." We should be surprised, a surprise welling up to an outburst of joy everlasting.
If we look upon the cross of Christ, if we truly understand what he has accomplished on our behalf in his life, death, and resurrection, we will be overwhelmed as we stand in "the wide open spaces of God's grace and glory." Not only will this provide us temporal and eternal peace, but with the abundant provision we need to live a life of love inspired by a God who loves, who pours forth grace never-ending.
Lord, may I stand in awe of your grace, offering thanks that before I sought you, you sought me. You have set me right with you; you have done it, not I. I now see that the work itself came at great cost, a cost I can never repay, and I am overwhelmed. May I live today as a recipient of your great gift, walking with you by faith in the Spirit, determined to let your grace overflow my cup, and extend it forth to all whom I encounter. In Christ's name, Amen.