GRACE. Within the nature of every person is the mindset that living a "good life" is what will make them acceptable before God. This was certainly true of the Israelites who believed that obedience to God's Law is what made them acceptable to Him. However, God never intended the Law to mark the path to acceptance. God gave the Law to shine light on the reality of one's life. A mirror in a dark room reveals nothing. Turn on the light and the filth on our face is obvious. A mirror doesn't put the dirt on our face. And we cannot wash in a mirror. But the mirror prompts us to seek the cleansing water. Likewise, the Law does not make us sinful - it only reveals the "filth" of our utter sinfulness in order to lead us to Jesus who alone can cleanse. Changing the metaphor, we can also look at the Law as an abusive husband. One little slip, and he slaps you around. Only total submission and absolute obedience satisfies. Anything less and he beats you and belittles you. Yet you stay married to Law, but only because you think there's no other option. There's no joy, no love. You try your best to please but there's never any love shown back. Life is hopeless, pointless, worthless. However, one day Law dies. You're set free. And you meet the most wonderful "man" in all the world and remarry. His name is Grace. Grace loves you in return even though you're not perfect. Grace understands your failures. Grace brings true love and joy to your life. And the life you now live finds you doing all the nice and good and loving things you did while married to Law, but now you don't do them out of fear of failure or fear of being abused. Now you do those things out of love for Grace who loves you in return and gives himself to you. "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God" (Ephesians 2:8). Thank you, Lord, that your forgiveness is all of grace and nothing of ourselves!