Hi. My name is Charlie Marquez. I’m a sinner saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, according to the scripture alone, for the glory of God alone. In addition (not that you need to add to that), I have been a pastor, church planter and Bible teacher in Southern CA for more than 20 years. This site is a record of an amazing journey I took recently. It’s a journey I never intended to be on – a journey I never knew I needed to be on – one I didn’t chose for myself. But it’s one I am eternally grateful the Lord took me on. It was a journey back to the grace of God.
Religion in it’s many forms (namely legalism and moralism) is a subtle yet destructive enemy of a humble walk with Jesus. I say it is subtle because it often masquerades as deep devotion and commitment. It is destructive because the effects are the opposite of what the gospel should produce in us. The gospel produces humility and assurance of acceptance, while religion produces pride and condemnation. Unfortunately contemporary Christianity has inadvertently embraced this subtle enemy even while denouncing it’s name. I was an unsuspecting victim. I would have boldly proclaimed that my Christianity was based on a relationship not a religion – but on the ground – it sure looked like religion.
Since then, my eyes and heart have been opened, and I have come to realize that subtle enemies require a bold defense. For me that bold defense was a decision to turn back to the Cross of Christ and lean on God’s grace instead of my own abilities and efforts as the means to secure and sustain God’s blessing. This blog is simply a place to think out-loud and share my learning and experiences with anyone willing to take this journey with me.
I have come to realize that for much of my almost 30 years as a Christian, I have derived my personal identity from living up to an image (an idol) that I created in my mind. It was the image of a “good Christian.” And by an act of God’s grace, through some voices of some pilgrims who have journeyed before me, God showed me that I had wandered from His grace. When I heard these faithful brothers, I realized they had an understanding of the gospel and grace that was significantly deeper and fuller than my own. What I had come to believe over the years was that the gospel was simply the truth that we believed to “get saved” and, in the day-to-day life of a Christian, grace was what I needed when my effort to be holy fell short.
I didn’t know how wrong I was or how thirsty I had become until I stumbled, panting and parched, upon the inexhaustible oasis of God’s grace. It was then that the idol I had previously erected began to crumbly under the weight of my self-righteousness and the realization of the depth of the sin that still remained in me. But it was also then that I saw, for the first time in a long time, my perpetual need for the Good News of the gospel of Jesus and the endless supply of grace that it affords. I realized that the gospel was not for the unbeliever only. It is for me – and I need it every day. It was when that truth became a reality to me that I was truly, wholly, finally free.
That is what Grace Impact is about. Join me on the journey into the fathomless depths of the amazing grace of God.