Gift of grace

This Christmas, I thought to just repeat to all of us what the gift of grace from God is. Christianity is all about this gift of grace from God, through Christ being born as man to die for our sins. And what this grace means is not that we have to be good in order to earn our place in heaven. Rather, it is that Christ have been that good for us such that we already have a place in heaven, so that we can be good as a response to that. We will never earn our place with the goodness that we can have or do.

It was never the point for us to earn our place with our goodness. But this is what we are constantly fed by the world. And Christianity is this safe spot where we learn that we don’t. Even as Christian myself, I need this reminder. And that’s why this Christmas I’m writing it again, in a different way. To tell all of us that we achieve our place in heaven not by our own goodness. But the goodness of God through Christ, who died for us. This is grace.

And that is what Christmas is about. Christ born for you and I. Grace given to us. Freely. What a joy to be able to receive it.

Remembering Tim Keller

More than 10 years ago, when I was exploring the Christian faith, my housemate got me to read ‘Counterfeit Gods’ by Timothy J Keller. It was a relatively easy but not quite comfortable to read. Tim Keller explained eloquently how we live diminished lives pursuing counterfeit gods who promise much but never delivers; and the deepest needs of our hearts are never satisfied by the things of this world. For me, it helped me desire more to explore the bible for myself and the gradually, as I delved into the riches of scriptures, I discovered more of how the gospel really changes our understanding of life and the world and is capable of shaping our response to it. I recognised the meaning of what good news it is for Jesus Christ to be my Saviour and God.

I went on to read the more difficult ‘Reason for God’ and went through a lot of Tim Keller’s sermons before I came to accept the faith. Of course, there was the help of my local church community, friends, not forgetting prayer and the scriptures. He came to be my favourite preacher and when I started dating my wife in college, the contents of ‘Meaning of Marriage’ both challenged and excited me as I come to appreciate more and more what God intends in the relationship between man and wife. As I learnt to navigate my work and career, I continued to draw upon the lessons from the scriptures with the help of Tim Keller’s preaching – which I would listen to during times when I did laundry, am alone running long distances or go on walks.

God had certainly reached out and enriched my understanding of His word greatly through the teaching by Tim Keller. Today, Tim Keller has gone to be with our great Saviour. And I want to remember his intellect, strength and wisdom enabled by God and used to do the good works that he has been prepared for. My heart is truly heavy at the loss of such a great teacher but I have full assurance that Tim is rejoicing with God. And I am challenged to grow and develop further my knowledge of God and my spiritual life, having seen how the richness in God works itself in the life of Tim Keller.