Five years ago, I mocked those who called themselves Christians. I thought they were phonies, simply living their lives in a happy little bubble with no sense of realism. After all, I knew that life was hard… and the joy and peace they manifested was simply unexplainable in my mind.
The only sense of joy I found was in mocking them for their beliefs. I was verbal in these attacks, even telling the pastor of the church I was visiting (which is now the dearest place on the earth to me) that he was a fool for giving his life to serve others and tell them about Jesus. My only goal in even attending this church was to find their faults and prove them wrong. I did everything I could to make these people’s lives hard. I mocked them. I purposefully did hurtful things just to see their responses.
But God showed me something I wasn’t expecting. He showed me love through the very folks I was mocking and persecuting. As these folks showed me undeserved grace, I began to see a picture of what Christ was offering me… undeserved grace to me, the chief of sinners. My arrogant, self-seeking life was radically changed.
Five years ago, I was running towards hell as fast as my sin-ravaged feet could take me. But the love of Christ broke through my stone cold heart. God the judge chose to offer me grace and redemption, through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit worked in drawing my heart through faith to accept that amazing gift of love.
I am constantly overwhelmed by the grace of God to me. His patience and mercy is astounding.
Paul talks about this same grace in his first letter to Timothy:
I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. 1 Timothy 1:12-17
I long for every day of my life to be one of bringing glory and honor to my Redeemer. His death provided the way that God the Father can judge me as a faithful servant.
This is the redeeming work of Christ. We who were once blasphemers and insolent opponents of the gospel are now welcomed in as friends, beloved children and heirs with Christ.
Let us join together and thank Jesus today for His sacrifice and the transforming power of the cross. To Him be honor and glory forever!
[copyrighted, 2009, Emily Schankweiler]