Dawn is a third year neuroscience major who enjoys music, chilling, marveling at the complexities/beauty of God’s creation, and meeting people who read the GOC blog. Say hi if you see her!
Here’s a lil bit about God’s amazing grace in my life.
God presented me to parents who were new Christians, eager to grow and bring up their children to know and love Him. After moving to Sacramento, California, He provided our family with a church led by those who loved the Bible and sought to teach it correctly.
Yet in my elementary school years, I did not understand the purpose of the Gospel and the Christian life that reflects it. I periodically prayed the sinner’s prayer of asking Jesus into my heart so that I could avoid fiery hell and reserve a spot in the more comfortable place to spend eternity. On Sundays, I went with my parents to church to sing songs and learn Bible verses, but I lived in rebellion to the lessons we learned as soon as we returned home.
Around the time of sixth grade, however, God began to soften my heart to the truth. He graciously removed the joy I found in an idol in my life– my best friend at the time. When our friendship failed, I was crushed. Why would God take away someone so important to me?
And somehow God used that to demonstrate the fleeting nature of all things under the sun. That apart from Him, everything and everyone changes. In that moment, God showed me the devastation that results when I put my hope and joy in something temporary and ultimately unfulfilling—in anything but Him. God graciously opened my mind to understand that our greatest joy is found in Jesus. That afternoon, I cried and prayed to recommit my life to Christ so that I could know true satisfaction. But I don’t think it was until later that I was truly saved.
In the formative years of middle school, God used sermons and Bible studies through Philippians and Ephesians to teach me that the Gospel is in all of Scripture. The Gospel’s significance was not limited to Jesus at some point in history dying on a cross.
“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked…” (Ephesians 2:1-2)
The Gospel is important because it includes me, personally. Because I lived in the passions of my flesh and carried out the desires of the body and the mind, I was by nature a child of wrath. I had personally offended God. The same God that I grew up learning about, who was and is and always will be wholly set apart from sin, perfectly loving, just, sovereign, and good.
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved…” (Ephesians 2:4-5)
“Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped… humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:5-8)
Jesus suffered and died on the cross to save me from the deserved penalty of my sins—eternal separation from my Creator to be spent in Hell. And not just for me, but for all mankind! Tetelestai—it is finished! There is nothing that we can do to add to or take away from his completed work of salvation on the cross. Truly, what an amazing mystery, that God could look at me and instead see Jesus’s righteousness.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:8-10)
“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed… work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:12-13)
But Jesus also came to earth to be my Lord. Christian living does not mean doing whatever I want because I’m forgiven or “becoming the best version of me”. Because of the Holy Spirit within me, I am being transformed into Christ’s likeness and able to submit to God’s will for my life.
“But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.’” (1 Corinthians 1:27-31)
God graciously opened my eyes to see why I needed the Gospel. I was powerless to save myself. I was the proverbial fool, the foremost of sinners. But like the sinful woman who worshiped Jesus, anointing His feet with ointment and tears, so also was I turned to rejoicing because God Himself has redeemed me. Hallelujah! What a Savior
And God’s grace continues to abound in my life. In each day, each trial, and each relationship He provides, I taste and see that He is so so so good. Even in my faithlessness, His faithfulness is all the more magnified. Even when I am enticed by the world and refuse to kill indwelling sins of lust and pride, He graciously breaks me, corrects me, and brings me back to the cross. He gives my soul a longing for heaven—where I will finally behold Him face to face, free from doubts and sins and fear. Until that day, I am certain that the joy of my salvation is secure— He will hold me fast.