So often we feel like we have been caught up in the "baggage" of the past. You know what I’m talking about: a bad relationship, bad decisions, divorce, and even tragedy. Some hold on to that baggage--and sometimes actually display that baggage as a backpack, strapped on--and carry it everywhere you go. Eventually, the backpack defines who we are; and inevitably, you are known as the mess that is in the backpack.
You have a life that is all wrapped up into the mistakes you've made, and the things that have separated you from God. You have to ask yourself: is this what I want from life? Do I want to be defined by the mistakes and the pains of my past? Or do I want to be known by something else?
Let me tell you something: Grace is beautiful. There's a reason for the song being called "Amazing Grace." Grace is what allows us to have a new beginning. It is what allows for us to have that baggage--that backpack--taken off of us and forgotten forever. No longer do we need to be defined by a past that is full of mess and sin. Grace makes us new.
Grace has to be in the DNA of the church, if it is to be a movement. There will never be a perfect church (I don't care how many people go to your church. I don't care how many athletes or famous people say that you are the best preacher or best congregation.) "Perfect" is unattainable for us, and that is why grace is essential in the heart of the church if it is moving, healthy, and going forward with the message of Jesus. Grace is what makes the church move without holding on to mistakes and what-ifs.
"All sin can do is threaten us with death, and that's the end of it. Grace, because God is putting everything together again through the Messiah, invites us into life--a life that goes on and on and on, world without end."
(Romans 5:21 NIV)