Today was an eye opener. Yet a story of redemption. A glimpse of what my life was like. My past screaming at me from every direction. A life that was causing me death and a lot of guilt and shame. A life that offered little satisfaction and temporary relief, a relief that only masked how empty I truly was. I was suffocating and caught up in the world.
Last year on this day I was drunk and chugging bottles of wine by 11am. I was playing beer pong. Slap the bag and you bet I beat everyone. I tailgated like everyone else. Heck, I was cool because I didn’t make it into the football game because I was too inebriated. I went back that night slept for a few hours and did it all over again. The bathroom was my best friend. The truth is; I lived this life for a long time hidden from my family and Christian friends.
By Gods grace and countless mercies this year’s tailgate was different. Amazing friends surrounded me. I found joy in the smell of fresh air and the redness of sunburn on my shoulders and cheeks. The sound of Frisbees and footballs through the air, friends cheering each other on and small talk about life brought peace.
While full of peace, the Lord has challenged me to be honest with my struggle and idolization of alcohol and the world of college parties. While going to one of the top party schools in the country, the temptation to consume excess amounts of alcohol runs ramped every night of the week. “Its your last semester,” a phrase I hear daily, but the truth is, I have found something that is so much greater. That greater is Jesus. I have a new outlook on life, a life that is lived to glorify the one that gave me life. A life I don’t deserve. A life under grace not under the law.
“”Under law” means that justifying righteousness comes from our own law keeping. On the other hand, being “under grace” means that our justification is a gift of grace on the basis of Christ’s righteousness, Christ’s law keeping, Christ’s perfect obedience of faith.” –John Piper
Romans 6 clearly depicts what it is like to be dead to sin and alive in God. Paul states for sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace. (6:14) This is a promise of what must be and will be for all who are under grace. Yet, we can look at verse 13 which is a command: “Do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.” With this promise and command we are told to not yield to our sin (verse 13) because sin will not be a master over us (verse 14).
This does not mean that we can continue to live in sin and that grace may increase. We cant live in sin, rather we need to fight our sin because we are united in Christ by faith. Our death with Christ ensures that sin will not be a master over us. A guarantee that since we liver under grace the entirety of Gods wrath is removed from us. Friends, God is for us, not against us. (Romans 8:31)
He who did not spare His own son, but delivered Him over for us all. Of course he will give us all things, including the ability to fight our sin. God did what none of us have done; he did the hardest thing in justifying us, putting us under his grace at the cost of his son. What good news. There’s hope in knowing that our sin does not need to be a master over us. Under his grace and cost of his son, he will do whatever it takes to be on our side. Friend. He is on your side when you have little hope and feel defeated. He is pursuing you; he is a patient God who wants you, all of you. Will you give it to him?
We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. (Romans 6:6)
Being under grace means being out from under the wrath of God for “there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1) We no longer have to be slaves to our sin; we do not need to feel defeated or hopeless. Under Gods grace we can move away from our sin and the guilt and shame it brings and towards righteousness.
You see it is not easy. If I allow folly to invite me into believing the lies, I wont just have one. The truth is, if it weren’t for God I would give into such things. My sins are countless but I try to fight them daily and it’s a fight that I am willing to fight. This life is for me to use to glorify God, not myself. It is not about me.
Although today was a glimpse of my past, it gives me hope. Hope that redemption is real.