2002-09-26 - Was I Chosen?
Eph 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, that no one should boast. (NAS)
The words of the hymn remind us, "Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling, Calling for you and for me...". I honestly believe that if you stop and look at the lyrics of some of the hymns from earlier in this century and prior to that, you find incredible insights. I'm not saying that you must enjoy organ music or hymns per se. But stop and look at the lyrics and really read.
The answer to the question, "What is grace?" could take pages upon pages to answer and even then it would likely not be complete. The simple answer is that it is "unmerited favor". It is good standing with someone that is not deserved. There is a parable that explains that one man owed a rich man a great deal of money. The rich man rightly insisted that his debt be repaid. When the debtor pleaded for more time to gather the money the rich man was moved with compassion and excused the debt. Without the act of grace, the other man would have been thrown into prison until his debt was paid. Many died in prison under such circumstances unless a relative or friend were able to take up their cause.
The man who owed the money was a poor man and the debt to the rich man was substantial. It was more money than the poor man would likely earn in his lifetime. Even if the pleas of the poor man were earnest, reality would show that he was powerless to actually make good on his promise to repay his debt.
In the very same way, we owe a debt of sin that we could never pay back to God. His requirement is perfection to enter His Heaven and eternity with Him. We may make earnest promises to improve ourselves. I hear people say that when they become a better person they will become a Christian. But the game is already up. The Bible tells us that we are dead in our sins. Dead men may tell no tales, but they also repay no debts. Once a mark has been written to the ledger of our lives, it can not be erased. It can only be repaid or written off.
Col 3:12-13 And so, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. (NAS)
This is our hope! Many people don't like this. They find the idea that they can not make it to Heaven on their own merits offense. Many repeat the same mantra, "I'm not so bad!" They may be impeccable people with sterling records and very giving spirits. The truth is that none of us are perfect which is the requirement. Even our very best efforts before God are completely inadequate. Just like the debtor our plea for more time to improve, no matter how heart-felt, is an unattainable goal. Our hope is that the rich man will extend grace to us and excuse the debt. Jesus has promised that anyone who comes to Him with a humble heart and repentant spirit will not be turned away. There are those who come quietly as either children or adults hearing the call of God through Sunday School, friends or parents. There are those who hear the call of God and see the truth of it and still fight it tooth and nail. In both cases some answer the call and others do not. Some are given the humility to ask and are chosen.
Rom 3:10-11 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God (KJV)
Were we as Christians chosen? Yes. Our dead hearts heard the call of God seeking us and were made alive again, and we responded. Then true to His promise Jesus heard our prayer and made us sons and daughters of God. How is a mystery for now. But the Holy Spirit comes to live within us as the down payment of the promises of eternity including the answers to our how's and our why's.
Rev 17:14 "These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful." (NAS)
Lord Jesus - Give us grateful hearts that learn a little more of Your grace that was extended to us. Amen.
Grace & Peace,