By Pastor Mike Gudka St. Paul United Methodist Church, La Porte City
We have been exploring God’s free gift of Grace (G.R.A.C.E or God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense). We have seen how God’s Grace reaches out to us before we even know that God exists. We have seen how God uses tough times in our lives to see Him more clearly and see the love that He has for us. In addition, we have explored the moment when we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, and then the journey with God’s Grace to learn to fall more in love with God, with each other, and become more and more like Christ.
So what is the end game? What is the goal? Jesus told His disciples what the goal is in Matthew 5:48 (NRSV), “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” So how in the world are we supposed to become perfect?
Well let’s start by looking at the proper definition for this word “perfect.” When we translate the Greek into English, we use the Latin definition for “perfect.” And this is to be completely without blemish. But this is not the correct translation for the Greek word used in the original texts of the Bible. The Greek definition of perfection is very different. First the Greek word for perfection starts with an understanding that something was made and it has now become broken. In other words, let’s assume that you built a boat and unfortunately the boat hit a rock, got a big hole in it, and it can now no longer be a boat. In other words, you as the creator of the boat built it to be a boat, but now it is broken and cannot be what you intended it to be. But let’s say that you love that boat. So you work on it and fix the hole in the boat. So now the boat, according to the Greek word, is “perfected.” In other words, the boat has returned to being what the creator intended for it to be. This is what Christ meant when He told his Disciples to be “perfect.”
God has such wonderful plans for us, but unfortunately through sin and the tough times in this life we become broken. And God loves us so much that He wants to restore us to being everything that He meant for us to be. How awesome is that! You see God is not about just helping us barely get by. God is not about just helping us limp along barely making it as we go. Instead God is about setting us free! God is about helping us become the wonderful child of God that He intended us to be before time began! And through Grace, the Holy Spirit works to perfect us.
Now for most of us, we will not reach perfection in this life time. But don’t worry; just before our last breath God will perfect all believers, so they can be set free to stand before the Father in heaven and continue on their journey to be everything that the Creator of the Universe wants them to be.
So this is the journey of Grace. It starts when we are born and never stops until our last breath. This life has ups and downs, but God constantly reaches out to let us know how much He loves us. God always is there to establish a deep relationship with us and to continue to mold us into being something so much greater than we can possibly imagine. And that my friends is the wonderful gift of Grace – God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense.