For several years one of my favorite sentences that gets to the heart of the matter concerning the gospel comes from Philip Yancey. In his book, What's So Amazing About Grace?, he quotes a gentleman who was asked to summarize the bible in 10 words or less. The response was, "We're all bastards and God loves us anyway."
I believe that captures the essence. None of us really deserves or has earned God's love. His love comes our way because he loves us and wants to love us. We can relax and embrace his love or rather let it embrace us. Sure, it matters how we live our lives. But not so much that we need to feel pressure to get it just right each and every moment of the day. That get it just right perfectionism leads to huge blowouts eventually.
Receiving grace is difficult for a proud country full of proud people of which I am one. I long to receive it more fully. Here are some more words that illustrate the same sentiment that Yancey conveyed. These were recently emailed to me by a friend. They come from a sermon by her pastor, Peter Hiett.
So I’m convinced your deepest problem is not the cigarettes you smoke or the alcohol you drink in secret. It’s not the slander you speak and the gossip you cherish. It’s not the pornography you pleasure yourself with when no one’s looking. It’s not the baby you aborted; it’s not that you betrayed your brother, cheated on your bride, lied about the whole thing, and retaliated with murder [King Herod]. It’s not even that you slaughtered the Lamb and killed the Messiah. Your deepest problem is that somewhere deep down inside, you believe Jesus the Messiah rose from the dead just to kick your ass, when, in fact, He rose from the dead so you would believe all is forgiven. It is finished! Justice is accomplished. And the Father is pleading, “Come home, come home, come home!”