Transforming Graces

  • Friday, March 25, 2011
  • I once sat next to an incarcerated inmate, shared a hymnbook and sang together the great truths of the liberating power of the gospel. After our singing and before I began my second message of the evening, I foolishly inquired as to how long he had been a resident of the correctional center. “I am doing life for first-degree murder.” Yikes! Speechless, I sat uncomfortably wondering what to say next. He didn’t wait. “I am grateful for my sentence. I had to be placed in the bondage of prison in order for God to set me free!”

    For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, training us (like teachable children) to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly (yikes…there is THAT word again…i.e. practicing self-control), righteously (according to a vertical relationship standard) and godly (reflecting the character of the Creator) in the present age (the here and now) looking for the blessed hope (continually looking up and anticipating the “great snatch”) and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ (today would be a GREAT day for a trumpet).

    Check them off:
    • Ungodly behaviors…check
    • Worldly/fleshly drives and urges…check 
    • Rebel deeds…check
    Verdict? Guilty as charged!

    Now, check again:
    • Sensibility?
    • Righteousness? 
    • God-reflecting behaviors? 
    • Passionate about doing what is good?
    Liberation. Free!

    A twisted inversion possesses us. What we consider true “freedom”…unchecked passions, self-serving actions, in-your-face to God behaviors…we call this “being free”, liberated. But these are prison-guards, keeping us under control, dominating our very existence, manipulating every one of our fleshly weaknesses. But God in His grace sets us free! Free from such slavery, that we might be joyously bound to a new and gracious Master.

    Sometimes our sin ends up placing us into bondage so that grace can set us truly free! “I had to be placed in the bondage of prison in order for God to set me free!”

    The liberating power of the gospel!

    See you Sunday, Church!
    Pastor Tom


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