'Chosen by grace' - Romans 11.5
I have been preparing the Bible reading for next Sunday night and hit again by how wonderful grace is. The truth that God's saving of me is in no way based on me - my goodness, spirituality, success, lack of skepticism or anything else. It is simply and solely his grace.
At first look, the language of God choosing to show me grace can sound incredibly arrogant, but I think that is because our experience of being chosen or not, has always been a reflection on our abilities. Even when people with the lottery - which really is a choice not based on ability, people often explain how they chose the numbers - as if it were not totally random.
I was the child who at school was last to be chosen for a team. In fact, so poor were my abilities that by the time it got to me, the captains were choosing based on who would do the least damage. I joke, but it was horrible.
Grace is different. It is unlike anything else we have experienced, or known. God chose me because of what is in him and not what is in me. That has huge implications, but one which Paul draws out again and again, is that it leaves no room for pride: "For it is by grace you have been saved through faith and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, so that no one can boast." This is one of the most tremendous memory verses for me to remember.
Sometimes I am tempted to judge someone else and then I remember Ephesians 2.8-9: I was not saved because I am better than anyone else. Sometimes I am tempted to despair about my inadequacies and then I remember Ephesians 2.8-9: I was not saved because I am worth it. Sometimes people accuse Christians of arrogance for saying that Jesus is the only way of being saved and then we can remember Ephesians 2.8-9: we cannot take credit for being saved.
So I will keep on holding on to this pride busting, hope giving truth of God's grace.