The Orange Leader
[Continued from last week] . . . I am acquainted with what I know to be strong, faithful and praying Christian workers who have been deeply affected by child abuse. One person said they could not call God “father” as in “Our Father who art in Heaven…” because of the abuse received from their earthly father. I think many people have difficulties with accepting the unconditional love of God and His son Jesus because the only reality they have known is the lack of love they received from one or more family members or other family relations.
To me, it is a fault of gigantic proportions that there are churches whose major emphasis is on the “thou shalt NOT…” rather than the major emphasis of the NT which begins, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8,9).
How rich, encouraging, helpful, delightful and uplifting are these words of grace found in Ephesians chapter two. The writer fairly gushes with excitement as he tells these Christians of God’s abundance to them through Christ. In verses one and two he tells how truly lost they were; they were “dead in trespasses” but are made alive in Christ. “By grace you have been saved,” he says in verse five. They have a blessed future waiting because of “the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus,” he says in verse seven. He then follows with the words already quoted in verses eight and nine.
In this chapter it is grace, grace, grace, meaning God’s unmerited and undeserved goodness, favor, loving-kindness and blessing which is the only reason anyone can have a living relationship with Jesus.
Before I close this little treatise I have two books to recommend to you. One is called “In The Grip of Grace” written by Max Lucado. The other book is by my personal favorite author Philip Yancey entitled, “What’s so Amazing About Grace?” These books will enrich your Christian life. In the introduction to his book Lucado says, “Though I’d sung the hymn a thousand times, I finally understood it; ‘Dressed in his righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne.’” Dear readers of this column: please know that God loves me and He loves you UNCONDITIONALLY. For by GRACE we are saved.