Out of the Shadows – Part 1
For it is by grace [God's remarkable compassion and favor drawing you to Christ] that you have been saved [actually delivered from judgment and given eternal life] through faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [not through your own effort], but it is the [undeserved, gracious] gift of God; not as a result of [your] works [nor your attempts to keep the Law], so that no one will [be able to] boast or take credit in any way [for his salvation]." (Eph 2:8-9-NASB)
Last week when I wrote to you, I mentioned a future topic, the topic of — Salvation. My heart had a topic for discussion in my second writing to you, but as I began, it was not flowing. Those of you who have a relationship with the Lord fully understand what THAT means. It was what I wanted to write, yet the Holy Spirit that lives within me had other plans. So here I am to go where only He knows, in this day He has blessed me to sit and pen His heart to each of you. I ask your patience with me, for this is so very new to me, to be sitting here before you pouring out, for I have only known Jesus to be my Lord and Savior for twelve years. My heart's cry is for both the saved, yet struggling in their walk, and for the lost who may not have recognized this need we all have born within us for God's unmerited favor to forgive and LOVE us!
Let us first gain knowledge of the word, grace, as given by God. For God says GRACE is waiting to be given to those who do not yet know Him, who do not yet call Him to come, be Lord over their lives. That same grace does not stop there, for it also extends to those who are children of God, who walk, but yet stumble. Grace . . . is favor which is NOT earned; good-will; a benefit NOT earned; a reward NOT earned. In God's heart, grace shows up in our lives in a most powerful way, by God choosing to bless us rather than curse us for our sins. That grace is the working (a deed performed) of love in action, how love behaves. It is what extends a bridge between God and man. It is Jesus Christ Himself! The Light of the world! No more dark shadows.
Now let us take a look at our hearts. In this world, there are so many little "g" gods vying for our hearts. God says in His word,
"The heart is deceitful above all things
and it is extremely sick;
who can understand it fully and know its secret motives?" (Jeremiah 17:9)
We are all searching to fill this need which is continually crying out from the depths of our hearts. We always sense there is more to life, a hole that never seems to be filled. Oh we try, we go in search of what we think is the treasure that will satisfy, that is so valuable to us that it sticks and makes the difference. Yet our God is a God of order. Look at the very beginning of time in how He created the world in six days (God rested on the seventh day) in specific order. We were all created by God for the purpose of being in relationship with Him, our Father in heaven. As I often say, it is as though we are this intricate puzzle having been put together by God's own hand,
"You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother's womb." (Psalm 139:13)
Yet because God loved us so very much, in that very beginning of time, He gave mankind the option to choose to love Him back, to dedicate their lives to His way, so that He, (God our Creator) could GIVE us all He has for us. This is called, free will — free will to choose.
Unless otherwise noted all biblical passages referenced are from the NASB version.