Friday, February 16, 2007

The power of God to save sinners

Last Sunday at my church two guest speakers shared testimony of their lives before and after an encounter with the living Lord Jesus. Their stories were the stuff of tv movies. Abuse, alcohol, drugs, divorce: you name it, one or the both of them lived it.

One speaker struggled to articulate the depth of the despair of his previous life, saying words could not even begin to describe the black darkness that had engulfed him as he lived out an empty, meaningless existence.

And, he went on to say, mere words fail to describe the brightness of the Light piercing that darkness when the power and mercy of God reached down and redeemed him!

Behold, the power of God!

In our white bread, Norman Rockwell, Bible belt Christianity, we tend to forget God's power to radically redeem the worst of sinners. If we are honest, there may even be a part of us that thinks God is somehow obligated to save us. We, after all, have never been guilty of _________ (fill in the blank with one of those "horrible" sins that "horrible" people commit). We fill a pew at church and may even occasionally come to Sunday school. After all, it's what "good" people do...

This line of thinking is not only contrary to Scripture, it also serves to minimize God's power and His mercy. If we somehow deserve even a small amount of God's grace to us, it is no longer grace and the cross of Christ is emptied of its power.

Sunday, the power of God leapt off the pages of our Sunday school quarterlies and into reality. He has power, incomparably great power, and no one--no one!--is beyond His reach.

Listen, my friend, if you have placed your life and your trust in Jesus Christ, you are just as radically redeemed as the worst sinner-turned-saint you can imagine. Do not listen to the enemy's lie that you were somehow "less" of a sinner than those testifying in my church Sunday. Don't let him convince you your salvation is less of a miracle. None of us deserve nor earn His mercy.

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air...gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved. (Eph. 2:1-4, emphasis mine)

We each of us are the very worst of sinners before God. So depraved we are dead in our sins. Yet by His grace and His power, we who belong to Christ have been radically, wholly redeemed!

We who were dead now live. Behold, the power of God!

2 comments:

  1. Behold and Amen! Why do we think we've done God a favor by believing Him?

    C.S. Lewis has the demon Screwtape telling the demon Wormwood this about the new Christian, "At bottom, he still believes he has run up a very favourable credit-balance in the Enemy's (Screwtape means Christ) ledger by allowing himself to be converted, and thinks that he is showing great humility and condescension in going to church with these 'smug,' commonplace neighbours at all."

    Of ourselves we bring nothing to salvation. We must wholly depend on Christ.

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  2. Oh my goodness....you have nailed it!!!!!!!!!!!I have been so convicted of my pious attitude lately. I did not have a Damascus Road experience....at my conversion I had not done drugs, alcohol, nor have I now...I am a good person, right...NO - I am a SINNER saved by GRACE!!!!!!!!!!

    MdA

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