In the basement of the church, I knelt at the alter with a few other kids. At twelve years old, I never really experienced church since my parents didn’t take us. Children’s church was a new concept to me. I heard of church but not a church for children. At the beginning of our time together in that chilly basement, we sang songs about Jesus. A Jesus I didn’t know. After singing there was a lesson that I don’t remember now. I’m sure it had to do with Jesus. Just guessing here. 😛 At the end there was an alter call for those kids who wanted to invite Jesus into their hearts. I went up not fulling understanding what I was doing, but so glad that I did.
Many years have passed since that day I knelt and received Christ. Many years and many mistakes later and I am more amazed now by the grace of Christ than I was as a young adolescent.
Brace yourself for a confession. I’ve been saved so long…and you reply: How long have you been saved? I’ve been saved so long, I actually take for granted what happened on that day.
Recently, I had the privilege of seeing someone come to faith in Christ. A very rare occasion. So rare, I would say this is really the first. This person in the crisis of their life with no where else to go, who had once identified as an atheist is now a part of the body of Christ. The transformation is incredible. The beauty of grace magnified because at one point they were in the depths of hell and now they are seated with Christ.
Those of us who are like me, who had been saved at a young age and walked with Christ now for many years, can be struck by the contrast. Once a person sat in darkness with no hope, despairing of life, and now living in the light of God’s grace with hope. As old as I am now, I can say I’ve lived most of my life walking with Christ. This person has lived most of their life apart from Christ until now. It’s like witnessing a tiny rose bud curled up in darkness suddenly stretching open its petals in response to the sun’s light.
A rose bud, unknown cultivar, photographed using the high dynamic range (HDR) technique. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
“I know nothing, except what everyone knows—if there when Grace dances, I should dance.” ~ W.H. Auden
Oh, how we should dance with Grace! Sing with the angels over one lost sinner coming home!
I wonder if the church as a whole in America has forgotten Grace. I wonder if we have forgotten our mission to go out into all the world and preach the Gospel, making disciples of all nations. I know I have. I forgot.
My friend turning to Christ has reminded me that we live in a broken world in desperate need of a remedy—the only remedy—Christ.
Brokenness is all around us. I recently read from the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC) that addictions of all kinds is quite prevalent in our society today. It has been noted as the number one public health issue. I’m not just talking about drug and alcohol abuse either. Gambling, sex, food, digital, adrenaline. You name it, we’re addicted.
How can the church respond to the brokenness?
Elect new government officials?
Pass new laws in Congress?
Respond with the Gospel of Jesus. The Gospel of Grace.
“Never water down the word of God, preach it in its undiluted sternness; there must be unflinching loyalty to the word of God; but when you come to personal dealing with your fellow men, remember who you are–not a special being made in heaven, but a sinner saved by grace.” ~ Oswald Chambers
Maybe to do this we need to remember the place from which we came. None of us were born saved. We were all born sinners in need of a savior. We all at one point in our lives came to the revelation that we were lousy, no good sinners and accepted Christ as our Savior.
Do I remember my chains? Do I remember the prison in which sin once held me? Do I remember how God reached down to my lowest hell and pulled me up with Him? Do I remember how He washed away the red, messy stain of my sin and made me white as snow?
I remember now.
“Come now, let us reason together,” says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow. Though they are red as crimson, they shall be as wool.” ~ Isaiah 1:18
Fred Astaire and Rita Hayworth
Let us remember our former chains. Let us remember our mission to share the beauty and miracle of Grace with our fellow sinners. It is a beauty to behold. And when you see Grace dance, dance with her.
Prayer: Gracious Father, help us remember how You set us free. How You broke the chains of sin from us. And out of the abundance of Grace You have given, let us reach out and share with our fellow sinners to the glory of You!