Bridging the chasm between us and God

God stands on the other side of a great abyss, a huge chasm between himself and us. He stands there holding an incredible gift for us, the best we could ever wish for. He then has to watch us trying to leap across the chasm to get it. It’s a pathetic sight, as human after beloved human falls desperately short.

Give them credit, though, some of them do quite well. They take what’s said in the Bible and try to do it. “If you want to enter life, obey the commandments,” Jesus said, so they try to obey all the commandments, and some do a really good job of it. But not quite good enough, unfortunately, because only perfect obedience will do. One mistake, one moment of weakness, and that’s it, game over, down to the bottom of the abyss they go. 

Some also read what Paul wrote, that “God will give to each person according to what he has done.” So they try to live a good life helping people out, raising money for worthy causes, being utterly honest, working hard, sacrificing for their kids, being upright, moral citizens in every way, and pillars in their community. The only problem is they sometimes get rather proud of their accomplishments. They like hearing how good they are. They may even think they’re superior, a cut above others, and even worthy of the accolades they get from people. Only the humble make it across the abyss, though.

Who can make it, then? How can anyone bridge this mighty chasm if one fault or one moment of pride sends you screaming downward, arms flailing in open space with no trees on the side to grab onto, and no handholds to clamber back up again? But that’s when God peers over his side of the chasm and shouts to the pile of broken, exhausted, frustrated humanity below: “Hey, folks, It was not through law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith.” 

“What was that God said?” someone yells. “It’s by faith,” someone yells back, “we get God’s gift by faith.” And then someone remembers. “Yes, that’s right, Romans 4:16, ‘the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace.'”

A murmur of many voices mumbling “By grace, eh?” rumbles through the abyss. “But,” one voice cries out, “what do we do to get this grace? We must have to do something to get it, surely?” And that’s when the voice of God echoes down from above, “You’ve already got it – have a peek while you’re down there at Romans 5:2….”     

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