Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now He has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in His sight, without blemish and free from accusation— if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.
Wow. Ok now I don't want to be cheesy, but seriously this is crazy. The crazy part isn't even that we were God's enemies - to me, it is that we are now "holy in His sight, without blemish and free from accusation..." Wow.
I have a hard time believing that, most of the time...you know what I mean? But when I actually take the time to think through it, to sort of have a conversation with God about it (I'll explain), then it seems to make sense and I can start to believe that truth about myself, at least for a time. To me it is like, how could God forgive me for being so selfish and prideful and angry? I mean, He sees my inmost thoughts, feelings, and attitudes. Of all people/beings, God has the most right to say, "No, you have done too much wrong to be forgiven."
But that's not what He says...He says, "Come now, let us settle the matter...Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool." (Isaiah 1:18)
He says that what He did on this earth and on the cross was (more than?) enough to forgive me for the terrible things I've done and thought and said and even all of the things I should have done but didn't do. He says that if that wouldn't have been enough to forgive all of the sin, He wouldn't have done it. Jesus didn't leave heaven and live and die on earth so that we could be partially forgiven and then work to try and make up the rest. That'ts not how it works. That's not how God forgives, and that is not what grace is. You know the song, "Amazing Grace"? There is a reason for the title of the song.
So here is another set of Bible verses that kind of does a good job of showing what grace is like. The prophet Elisha is helping out the king of Israel, but the king of Aram doesn't like this, so he sends an army to capture Elisha.
2 Kings 6:15-22
When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked.
“Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”
And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
As the enemy came down toward him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, “Strike this army with blindness.” So He struck them with blindness, as Elisha had asked.
Elisha told them, “This is not the road and this is not the city. Follow me, and I will lead you to the man you are looking for.” And he led them to Samaria.
After they entered the city, Elisha said, “Lord, open the eyes of these men so they can see.” Then the Lord opened their eyes and they looked, and there they were, inside Samaria.
When the king of Israel saw them, he asked Elisha, “Shall I kill them, my father? Shall I kill them?”
“Do not kill them,” he answered. “Would you kill those you have captured with your own sword or bow? Set food and water before them so that they may eat and drink and then go back to their master.” So he prepared a great feast for them, and after they had finished eating and drinking, he sent them away, and they returned to their master. So the bands from Aram stopped raiding Israel’s territory.
On a side note, here is some more music I downloaded recently: