Ransomed by Grace: God’s incredible plan to bring us near
What is humanity’s greatest need?
I asked this question of a group of people recently, and got differing answers. Many of them cited survival. The need for food, water, shelter. Of course, that didn’t surprise me; these needs are obvious, some of the most basic and essential aspects of being human. We’re not gods – we need to work hard to simply keep existing.
But maintaining existence is not really the preeminent need of the human race. If it were, what would be the point of existing at all? If we only live to survive, if our greatest aim is just to fill out a lifetime, it would be better not to have lived at all. No, this question has its root in something far more profound.
What humanity needs most is not survival or success or human companionship. Rather, we need divine companionship – or, better put, communion. Our infinite and beautiful God created us so that we could live in intimate fellowship with Him. That is the reason for our existence and the truest purpose of our lives.
But here’s the tragic twist to the story. In ourselves, as sinners, we are completely cut off from the fulfillment of our greatest need. Filthy and rebellious covenant-breakers, we are not only unworthy but unable to see God face to face. We desperately need this relationship, and cannot have it. The work of lifetimes could never bring us near. It is impossible.
For man. For man it is impossible.
But with God all things are possible. And this is where grace steps in. Grace takes enemies and brings them near. Sinners and makes them justified. Grace redeems doomed rebels, heals broken natures, and rights twisted desires. Grace does the impossible.
The solution wasn’t easy. The gifts of grace are never cheap – they are free but costly. The reason for this lies in the character of God and the nature of sin. When dealing with God, sin can’t be ignored or swept under the rug. Our God is not only perfect, He is the definition of perfection. If He were to invite us into His presence without atoning for our sin, His glory would consume us. That is why communion with Him is impossible for unredeemed sinners. The thought is not even logical.
Even when we were sinners, God loved us. He wanted us near Him. That was His plan from the beginning, and He was willing to make the greatest imaginable sacrifice in order to accomplish it. What He did was so amazing that we cannot understand it with our finite minds. Christ took on Himself the guilt and horror of sin so that we would be able to say “No condemnation.” The Father poured out hell on His Son so that we would never know the full meaning of wrath. He abandoned Him to die so that we could be brought near, given life, and called beloved. Now He can, with equal mercy and justice, forgive our sins and welcome us into His presence. On earth and throughout eternity, we can find that fellowship with Him that completes and satisfies us. We can enjoy our Creator and fulfill our destiny.
This is grace. This is stunning, abundant, beautiful grace. And it provides for our souls what nothing else could. Grace has found a way. Against all odds, beyond all comprehension, it has provided for our greatest need.
That’s good news.