Are we able to clean ourselves up enough so that God would say,
“I see you have put some effort in. You have cleaned yourself up a bit. Since you have worked so hard, I will now extend my grace and mercy to you.”
The Crowd and the Blind Men
In Matthew 20:29-34, Jesus is walking by two blind men, who call out for healing. The crowd, not thinking they were deserving, tells them to be quiet, to quit calling out to Jesus. They did this because they wrongly understood God’s grace and mercy.
What They Thought
They thought God only extended His grace and mercy to those who were deserving. Since they saw these two men as unholy sinners who were being punished by God, they didn’t think they deserved God’s grace or mercy.
Many Think That Way Today
Many people today think they they have to clean themselves up before they come to Jesus. Or they believe they don’t deserve God’s grace and mercy because of who they are or what they have done in the past. That, however, is simply not true.
No One is Deserving
According to the Bible no one is deserving. No one deserves God’s mercy and grace. Paul tells us in Romans 3:23:
“We all have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God.”
So according to Paul, no one is worthy of God’s mercy. No one deserves His grace, which is why it is called grace – it is a gift God gives to us. Since God’s grace is a gift, it is something we don’t earn or deserve.
A Gift Open To All People’s
Even more, it is a gift open to all peoples. It doesn’t matter what you have done in the past, or who you are right now. God’s grace is open to you.
A Return To Our Initial Question
Returning to our initial question, the answer is that we can’t clean ourselves up enough for God to extend His mercy and grace to us. No, God’s grace and mercy is extended while we are still unholy sinners deserving of His wrath. So then, it is God who cleans us up, not the other way around.
Question for Reflection
- Why do people often think they have to make themselves presentable to God?
Post adapted from my most recent sermon: How should we think about and act toward the disabled?