Wednesday, February 25, 2009
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It seems like it's almost America's spiritual national anthem - even more so after the emotional earthquake of September 11, 2001. You heard it a lot then. It's that centuries-old hymn, Amazing Grace. For years, they've played it at the funerals of fallen policemen and firemen and of many everyday men and women. It's been the subject of a public television documentary. And on the emotional anniversaries after September 11, at Ground Zero, what song have the bagpipers played as they approached that site which has become hallowed ground? Of course, they were playing the haunting strains of Amazing Grace. Even for people who don't go to church or know much about the Bible or even believe much of anything, they know Amazing Grace.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "What's So Amazing about Amazing Grace."
Many who love the song Amazing Grace have little idea what is so amazing about the grace that it celebrates; or even what "grace" really is. And yet we have a strange sense in our soul that whatever that song is about is something our soul really needs. And we're right.
Once you dig in and try to grasp what God's "grace" is all about, you really will be amazed and you'll be changed forever. There's no better place to get the inside scoop on grace than Ephesians 2 in the Bible beginning with verse 1. It's our word for today from the Word of God. It starts with bad news, and it ends with the best news you've ever heard. It says, "As for you, you were dead in your...sins." Sins - that's all the things we've done our way instead of God's way. And, spiritually speaking, our hijacking of our life from God has left us dead, which means separated from God. Deep inside, maybe you can even feel being away from God.
The Bible continues: "All of us lived...gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature...Like the rest, we were objects of wrath." Translation: we've ended up on the wrong side of God's wrath because we've defied Him and, in reality, we've made ourselves "God" in our lives. The stars obey Him, the planets obey Him, the angels obey Him, even demons do what He commands them. We're the rebels who dare to defy God's authority in the way we live, with our selfishness, our lies, our anger, our lust, the way we treat other people. The song says God's grace is amazing because it "saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found; was blind, but now I see."
The Bible then delivers this awesome news for us "Death Row" rebels: "it is by grace (that's undeserved love) you have been saved, through faith. This is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works." The Son of God Himself said, "I will take the punishment you deserve. I will take your hell." And He died on a cross to take your place and your punishment. You can't do a thing to get yourself to heaven; it's "not by works." God says so. What will cost you heaven is depending on anything other than Jesus, anything in addition to Jesus, no matter how Christian it is or how religious it is.
Maybe you're still "lost," like the song says, but you're ready to be "found." You've been "blind," but you want to "see." Then it's time to let God's undeserved love - His amazing grace - happen to you. It's time to reach out to Jesus and grab Him like a drowning person would grab a rescuer. He's your only hope.
You can tell Him right where you are that you want this relationship with Him beginning today. Just tell Him, "Jesus, I believe when You died on that cross, some of those sins you were paying for were mine. You are my only hope of being forgiven by God. You're my only hope of being in heaven some day, and I'm putting all my trust in You because You died for me and You walked out of your grave under your own power. You're alive today!"
If that's what you want, I hope you'll check out our website as early as you can today. So many people have been encouraged there - found help there in beginning their relationship with Christ. That's really what it's there for. It's YoursForLife.net. Or I'd be glad to send you my little booklet Yours For Life if you'll just call for it toll free at 877-741-1200.
It's amazing grace - it can be yours today.