“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.” – Ephesians 2:1-5
John Newton who once lived a terrible life as a slave ship captain, wrote the beloved hymn, “Amazing Grace”, to reflect God’s grace and mercy to him a terrible sinner. Obviously, he was so moved that God could save a wretch like him, that he put his thoughts in words and penned this beautiful hymn to express his gratitude.
In the above text, Paul reminds us that salvation is based upon God’s grace in Christ and comes to us through faith. The prophet Isaiah says in Isaiah 64:6 that, “all of our righteous acts are like filthy rags…” Yet, God, in his goodness, mercy and love, reaches out and draws us to him.
Many people think that Christianity is too easy. They think that there should be something more they must do to receive God’s grace. Someone said many find it difficult to trust a God who offers salvation as a gift.
Christians do not have to jump through hoops to receive God’s grace and mercy. It is the gift of God. All the hard work has been done for us. For it is by grace that we have been saved, through faith and this is not from ourselves.
The apostle tells us that we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ. Even though we deserve damnation, God sent his son into the world to redeem us. This is indeed good news.
Whether you want to believe it or not, we had no part in our salvation. When we were still enemies of God, he sent Jesus to die for our sins.
God has accepted us as his children through the merits of Christ’s crucifixion, death and resurrection. We become partakers of salvation through faith, which is the hand that receives salvation earned by Christ.
When we consider all that God’s love has done for us, we should respond by rejoicing. Amidst our Lenten penitence, the thought of rejoicing may seem a bit out of place. However, as we make this journey to Jerusalem and look forward to Easter, we observe Lent with repentant joy.
Wherever you are today, whatever your state, God’s mercy is available to you. Some people find it difficult to believe that it is so simple. Even an evil man like John Newton, a slave trader, received that gift of salvation and went on to share his story and his joy with the world, through the hymn he penned, “Amazing Grace”.
Believe upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved. Your sins cannot be too great for God. He can and is willing to fix you.
Yes, believe it. Salvation is a gift from the hand of God. It is free, for all people. I know of many who can share a similar story. I, too, was once lost, but now l am found. God changed a wretch like me. Amen.
• Rev. Samuel M. Boodle, pastor at the Lutheran Church of Nassau, 119 John F. Kennedy Drive, can be reached at P.O. Box N 4794, Nassau, Bahamas; or telephone: 426-9084; E-mail: email@example.com; website: www.nassaulutheranchurch.org.