I loved this article!
I think both Matt and I began to understand the “perfect lie” when we began a deeper study of grace. A word I don’t think we explain enough at church.
We know that it is by grace that we are saved. But what many don’t realize is that grace isn’t something we earn.
As important as our works are in this life, grace has no prerequisites we have to achieve before it kicks in. There is no “our part/their part.” It is simply there from the start.
We have access to the grace of Jesus Christ and the enabling power of His atonement from the very beginning.
When speaking of responsibility, people many times describe a “gap” between our efforts and perfection.
Or sometimes it is illustrated as a ladder that comes up too short.
And they say that Christ’s job is to fill that gap.
It’s another lie that so many people buy into because they don’t adequately understand grace and the atonement.
The truth is that there is no gap. There never was.
Christ paid for us in full, not simply a portion. We aren’t responsible for any part of that debt other than to accept that it has been paid.
We don’t have to pay for a portion of our sins or our shortcomings.
Once we realize that, we access the power of the atonement and His grace.
That’s when the enabling power of the atonement kicks in.
It is the power to do more, to be more than we are. It is the power to become like Christ.
That is where our works come into play. What are we going to do with that power?
So many seem to have this idea that Christ is waiting for us at the top of our ladder, ready to help us jump a gap “after” we’ve done “all we can do.”
But the reality is that Christ is standing right beside us before we even take the first rung.
We are climbing HIS ladder, and His ladder doesn’t come up short.
Perhaps the “we” in the phrase “after all we can do” doesn’t mean just us, and the “after” doesn’t imply a gap to be filled or even a timeframe.
Perhaps “we” can be read as “Christ and myself.”
We. After all WE can do.
Because that more accurately describes reality.
The reality that He ascends the ladder alongside us.
We don’t have to prove ourselves before we deserve His help. He’s not waiting at the top of some unfinished ladder.
We don’t have to rely on our own strength and efforts- even for a moment.
That is the power of grace. That is the power of the atonement.
He is there every step of the way.
He experienced what it is like to be utterly alone so that we don’t have to.
He is the one who gives us the power to climb.
I don’t believe that it is simply “by” Christ that we are saved. It is “with” Christ.
His grace is sufficient. His grace takes us and makes us into more. We just have to use it.