When does a person receive the forgiveness of sins? At what point does a person receive the full benefits of Christ’s completed work on the cross so that they can be declared righteous, acceptable, freely and fully forgiven?
Just the other day I came across an elderly man in Texas. He was a ranch owner just outside of Austin. Throughout his working years, he rarely had much use for attending a local church. Until he accepted an invitation from a man he deeply respected to come to a worship service. He appreciated the pastor’s no-nonsense approach and was impressed by his ability to talk his language. Though he was considered a successful rancher, the man was burdened with guilt. His hard work had took time away from his family, especially his twin boys. His absence had brought a detrimental effect on his boys and their relationship. The pastor’s simple message was, “You are forgiven!” The rancher took those words and made them his own. The reality of Christ was made known through God’s Word and revealed through transcendent grace. It’s at that moment where the invisible became visible through the change of a hardened man into a tender and active soul. He was forgiven. Right now.
That’s the transcendent nature of grace. When received, it transforms lives. The ownership of grace is immediate and the effect is lasting.
Grace is that word that most adequately describes God’s love to all people. In its purest form — grace means undeserving love. So, how do you receive it? The best imagery of receiving grace is when its thought of as a gift. Like a present that is carefully wrapped and set aside for all to see, it’s not technically received until its opened. But, for whatever reason, people choose to not receive the gift. They keep the beautifully wrapped gift tucked away. Perhaps they feel that either the gift must not be for them, they are too busy to open it, there must be some catch, or maybe they are simply not worthy enough to open it.
How do you receive something that is too good to be true?
We are told by the Better Business Bureau that if we receive an offer that seems to be too good to be true, it probably isn’t. At the same time, we purchase lottery tickets for the possibility of becoming rich. Despite the indescribable odds of winning the multimillion dollar jack pot, people buy tickets with the hope that their ship has finally arrived. If given a choice, it seems people are more inclined to be immeasurably lucky rather than receiving a gift worth immeasurably more. Can luck be a picture of grace? Is luck only given to those who deserve it? Were we first deemed worthy before winning the lottery?
We begin to understand the concept of universal justification. It’s God’s way of saying “You have won the lottery! Now, come and receive the prize!” Faith is the only winning ticket that is considered redeemable. Faith alone receives that gift. And by faith, we receive the free and full forgiveness of sins.
Why wait any longer? Come and claim the prize. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will receive a gift that is far greater than anything that the earth can produce.