I have spent the first 26 years of my life living in a transactional kingdom instead of a grace kingdom. It was not until April of 2018, through a couple of convicting conversations with my Pastors and their wives, that the Lord woke me up to the false reality I was living in. In my transactional kingdom, I could always make up for the sins I committed. The “good Brynn” always outweighed the “bad Brynn” – or at least I seemed to always be able to balance out the scales by seasons of good behavior and selflessness and service towards others.
But God showed me, through a season of great rebellion and sin in 2018, that I cannot live in a transactional kingdom because there is NO WAY that I can make up for the sins I committed against God and against others. Even the “good Brynn” was not good enough to atone for my sins. There was no way I could balance the scales. This realization devastated me. It forced me to come face to face with my own wretchedness and depravity. I bitterly thought to myself that I could now compete with Paul for the title of “worst of sinners.” I deserved Hell – I actually believed this, for the first time. I did not want to acknowledge that I was a wretched sinner and I especially did not want to acknowledge that there was nothing I could do, in my power, to “fix” this situation. The reality that I was powerless to save myself terrified me and crushed me!
I spent many weeks wrestling with my pride before I was able to see the freedom and joy that comes from living in a grace kingdom. In the kingdom of grace, the transgressions of sinners are blotted out by the blood of a perfect Jesus. Because of God’s grace, he sent Jesus as a beautiful gift for us so that we may call God’s kingdom our own. And this is a gift that was freely given as an outpouring of God’s love for us. It is a gift in that there is nothing that we could do or can do to earn it, and the Father knew this when he gave it to us. A gift with no expectations of payment in return. A gift freely and joyfully given. All I had to do was accept this gift and ask for forgiveness for my sins. Ask Jesus to forgive me because it is my curse that he bore, in his body, when he died on the cross. Ask God to forgive me because He had to suffer the loss of his only begotten Son, because of my rebellion.
Ironically, it was not until I accepted the weight of my sin that I experienced true joy! Living in a transactional kingdom is exhausting – always trying to ensure that I followed every command in the Bible and dutifully serving the Lord so that my “good” always outweighed my “bad.” But true joy is found in the kingdom of grace! One of my Pastors helped me see this through the amazing story of the prodigal son – the prodigal son turned away from his sin, returned to his father, repented, and tasted true forgiveness as he embraced the kingdom of grace. His father even threw a party to celebrate the prodigal son’s return! Meanwhile, the other son, though he dutifully served his father for his whole life, continued to live in a transactional kingdom, and therefore he stayed outside for the party, never tasting the sweet joy and freedom that comes from acknowledging our status as saved sinners.
Understanding that I must only live in a grace kingdom mindset has changed my life. Instead of obeying the commands in the Bible in order to keep my scales “balanced,” I now desire to obey the Lord because I am so grateful for how he has saved me from my sin, by His grace alone.
Post by Brynn Gray