A few weeks ago my wife and I discovered our toaster was no longer toasting well. I realized that the elements were not working to their full capacity and the toast was coming out half toasted. I researched on YouTube how to replace the elements. After watching a video, it didn’t look too difficult to do. I thought maybe I could do it. Then I tried to find where I could buy the needed elements for our brand and model of toaster. Therein lies the problem. After a certain time researching on the internet, I discovered there were none available as our toaster was too old and obsolete (I guess).
After further research on the internet, I discovered another “how to” video on YouTube showing how to fix my toaster. I mentioned to my wife I had discovered another way to “fix the toaster” and requested her assistance in the garage. Standing a safe distance away, I set the toaster on the work bench, picked up a hammer and proceeded to smash the toaster into a piece of crumpled metal. I stood back and smiled at my “repair job” and was satisfied that the toaster was now in perfect condition to toss into the dumpster. Then we proceeded to go out and buy a new toaster.
As I pondered this, I stopped to thank God for the grace of God shown in my life. Realizing the brokenness and the sinful choices I had made in my life, I wasn’t much different than that broken toaster. I wasn’t working at full capacity because my sinful desires and the sinful choices were messing up my life. I was broken inside because of sin and rebellion against God and there are no replacement parts. In God’s eyes I deserved the same outcome as the toaster. Romans 6:23 tells us “the wages of sin is death …” I deserved the death penalty from God who is righteous and holy. But that is not what God chose to do. God showed me mercy and grace through Jesus Christ. The rest of Romans 6:23 says, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ, our Lord.” When I receive that mercy and grace through putting my faith in Jesus, I am forgiven and cleansed of my sin and I am a new creation. In the New Testament of the Bible, 2 Corinthians 5:17-18a says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ …”
Here is a simple explanation of the definition of grace and mercy. Mercy is not getting what we deserve. Grace is getting what we do not deserve. As rebellious sinners against God we deserved punishment for our disobedience. God offered an opportunity (mercy) for us not to be punished by himself taking on our sins through Jesus death on the cross.
We did not deserve forgiveness, salvation, a transformed heart and life, eternal life, hope of heaven, the boundless love of God, but God chose to give us those things by our faith, our trust in him and what he has done for us. “By grace you have been saved through faith and this is not from yourselves, not by works so that no one can boast.” This is grace to receive all these things that we do not deserve.
Jesus took what was broken and defiled in us and made us new. A person doesn’t really understand what that means unless they have experienced it. Salvation through Jesus Christ is transforming. I can testify that it is real and has truly changed my life. As the Bible verse says, “The old is gone, the new has come.” I hope you can have that experience of a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, too.
• Dan Wiese is the pastor of the Church of the Nazarene. “Living Growing” is a weekly column written by different authors and submitted by local clergy and spiritual leaders.