Lifelines June 30, 2019

“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me…” How we cherish the notion of salvation.  Eternity separated from God is a fate worse than our imagination can conceive.  No love.  No light.  No hope stretching far beyond the horizons of our mind.  There would be no way back.  Just an endless night of indescribable misery.  But for the grace of God…

Jesus embodied that grace (John 1:14).  It was not a human initiative but a divine love that set the plan in motion.  People had swapped paradise for a bite of forbidden fruit.  The relationship was shattered and deterioration set in.  Murder followed.  Sin awaited just outside the door and within the mind.  The situation went from bad to worse, and the creation had a dire need for cleansing.  The Lord grieved and humanity died.  The fresh start did not last long.

Sin continued to distort thoughts and plans.  God knew.  He had a strategy to deal with it from the beginning.  It was engineered by grace.  Salvation extended to every corner of the globe (Titus 2:11).  Every soul had the option.  They always would.  Make disciples of all the nations (Matthew 28:19).  Preach the gospel everywhere to everyone (Mark 16:15).  Take it to the weak, worthless and rebellious.  God’s deepest desire is that they all be saved (1 Timothy 2:4). Amazing grace, indeed.

It does not stop there.  He has a much bigger agenda in mind.  Grace doesn’t just pluck us from the cesspool of sin and leave us alone.  It teaches us (Titus 2:12).  The environment that destroyed us will not rebuild us.  Christians need a new direction, away from the destructive forces of the evil one.  We are tugged and tempted with those same old desires that captivated us.  Grace freed us.  Now, it guides us away from a return to slavery and into a liberated life.

The here-and-now can be a strong influence, and grace teaches us to look beyond this moment (Titus 2:13).  Jesus is coming again.  Eternity waits, and who knows how close it is?  It may be a thousand years or half a second.  His grace enables us to look with hope and expectation to His appearing.  Great glory is there.  He is there.  That exciting, thrilling moment is closer than ever.

Delivering that grace was the costliest transaction in all of eternity.  He gave Himself (Titus 2:14).  That is how bad the problem of sin is and how deep His love runs.  He salvaged us, cleaned us up and took possession of us.  We belong to Him now, and He has purpose for us while we are still here.  There is work to be done, and His grace has prepared us to do it.  We weren’t left to sit and watch but to engage in good deeds.  It is what He did.  Now it is our turn.