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Posts Tagged ‘free gift of salvation’

God has at last answered our prayer for the privilege to not just read and talk about faith, but to walk in it actively.  Inspired by the witness of Bible heroes and those who have marked Christian history since the time of Christ, I have yearned to not just give lip service to this realm, but to live in it.  While more of a halting crawl than a walk at the moment,  I have found that proactively following Christ is teaching me things I have never learned just by studying or listening to teachers.  Jesus said,

Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. Matthew 7:24

Learning Truth through the experience of walking with Him (not independent of the Word… but in obedience to the written and living Word) goes deeper than abstract concepts and the Christianese cliche we throw around without recognizing the depth of what we are saying.

We have found a certain person who likes to give till it hurts.  Although my inclination is to hold on to some things “just in case”, as if the supply line might stop at some point, this man pours it all out.  He gives like Jesus, and ironically, that’s his name too!  Jesus Ruiz, Executive Director of 3 Things Ministry.  Yesterday, on his direction, the ministry took nearly the entire contents of a clothing pantry, along with household goods, and set up a yard sale in a church parking lot.  Except…. Jesus gave it all away.  He provided grilled hot dogs and bottled water.  A huge mountain of toys gradually disappeared as the day wore on.  Younger members of the team enthusiastically shared gospels and tracts.

Repeatedly, faces expressed shock which turned to joy as they heard, “It’s all free!”  One woman commented, “I’ve never seen anything like this.  This is an amazing thing you are doing.”  Another man, holding a baby so his wife could find clothes, mentioned how thankful he was for this because their need was great.  On the street in front of the church, the police impounded a car they had pulled over for speeding, providing an unexpected ministry opportunity.

But even so, one man who could not accept this agreement.  Out came the wallet and a few dollars offered for the toys his granddaughter had picked out.  He was insistent.  He must pay for what he took, so he did.

I love this ministry because it shows me the power of grace, how it softens and opens hearts.  People stop, talk, and share their joys and struggles.  They gladly take the Word of God, suddenly interested to know why these crazy people would just give it all away.  And it also shows in some, the first inclination of our hearts to disbelieve all that Jesus has done on our behalf.  He has prepared the table and says, “Come and eat freely… my blood and my body which have been prepared for you.”

I have a facebook friend that feels a need to always qualify the grace statements I post.  He is on fire for God, and I admire his zeal and envy his boldness.  Yet, grace is a scary substance.  People might get the wrong idea.  He is overwhelmed with the lukewarm “whatever” attitude of modern Christians, and I understand.  But neither have they seen Grace, because it was probably presented to them without a true picture of the Cross.  They at some point believe they are entitled and seem unappreciative of the true cost of what they are offered.

On the street, we sometimes see these kinds of people too, not quite happy with what has been given – seeming unthankful, and petitioning for something we don’t have to give.  Although not the norm, it happens.  Yet we still give.  And so does God, as He rains on the just and unjust.  In this life, His grace and mercy  allow us all, even those who hate Him, to take in each breath.

I recently read through Malachi, and found the often-quoted passage by law-keeping sects… “For I, Yahweh change not.”  They sling this phrase around in support of the premise that if God does not change, the Law as given to Israel must be as eternal as He is.  Yet… the very next words are, “therefore you are not consumed O children of Jacob.”  Mercy is the constant attribute of God in this equation.

Yes, a day of reckoning will one day come, but no one will be able to say they could not afford price required to attain Life.  Don’t doubt, but believe and lay your soul on Him to save you.  No one else offers this gift at any price, although they may claim to have another way.  You can’t earn it, buy it, or bargain for it.  It’s free.  Return to Him, and thank Him.

The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price. Revelation 22:17

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