“So it is God who decides to show mercy. We can neither choose it nor work for it. What does all this mean? Even though the Gentiles were not trying to follow God’s standards, they were made right with God. And it was by faith that this took place. But the people of Israel, who tried so hard to get right with God by keeping the law, never succeeded. Why not? Because they were trying to get right with God by keeping the law instead of by trusting in him. They stumbled over the great rock in their path. God warned them of this in the Scriptures when he said, “I am placing a stone in Jerusalem that makes people stumble, a rock that makes them fall. But anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.”” Romans 9:16, 30-33 NLT. (http://bible.com/116/rom.9.16,30-33.nlt)
School is just around the corner here in northeast Indiana. The first few days of school deal with letting students know the expectations, rules, and consequences. Teachers have varied approaches to dealing with students. Some give great lists of dos and don'ts. It seems they spend most of their school year trying to catch kids messing up. They seem to revel more in discipline than the learning. They favor complaint students and deal harshly with those that aren't. My policies are simple. I want a professional environment that encourages students. I want to build a positive relationship so we can both trust each other and I want to instill the love I have for learning. I don't sweat the small stuff and am open and honest with my students. I want them to do the same thing.
I am so glad God is not sitting on his throne trying to catch me breaking a list of rules. Many people think he is. Grace and mercy prove that he's not. The Bible states, over and over again, we can't earn favor with God, we can't work to earn his love. We don't have a set of rules we must live by. We just need faith and trust in God. The older I get in the faith, the more I realize I can't keep a long list of rules. I'm a sinner and I mess up. Without grace I would be dead in my faith. God offers mercy and grace for all of us, even those that have lived despicable lives of sin. All we need to do is trust in him, devote ourselves to him, and promise to live life with him.
Praise God for his mercy and grace. I promise to trust you with everything in my life. Amen!