15th July 2017

Once We Were… 

“At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures.”
Titus 3:3 (NIV)

Do you remember the ugly sisters in the Cinderella story? They also were foolish, cruel, selfish and envious, and made their sister do all of the menial tasks around the house. Just imagine how we would feel if one of them became the bride of the prince! Although her clothes were rags and her hands red with all the hard work, we reckon that Cinderella’s heart was good and that she really deserved to become the princes’ wife!

But guess what? Every one of us can become the bride of the King; that’s his plan! Notice what Paul tells Titus later on in the chapter quoted above—“But when the kindness and love of God our Saviour appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy” (Verses 4-5). I’m sure you’ll agree that’s a wonderful “But!”

This is “amazing grace” because not only were we foolish and deceived, we were also powerless, sinners, and enemies of God! Yet forgiveness is ours through Jesus Christ! (Romans 5:6-11). He treats us as if we had never sinned, isn’t that amazing?

During the Civil War in the United States—the North against the South—a member of Abraham Lincoln’s government asked him point blank: “Mr. President,” he said, “What are we going to do with these southerners whenever they have been defeated and are back in the Union?” And Lincoln replied, “We will treat them as if they have never been away!”

That’s the story of the Prodigal Son who had been away from his father’s house for a long time and had squandered his inheritance. He was dressed in rags and feeding pigs in a field for some gentile farmer with not even sandals for his feet. Finally he decided to go home, even though he knew that not only had he shamed his father, but also the whole village. But he was determined to get to his father, and as you probably know his loving father had been waiting for him every day since he left. His father ran to him and fell on his neck (hugged him) and kissed him over and over again! He put a beautiful robe on him, sandals on his feet—because only slaves went barefoot—and this is no slave but his beloved son. Also a ring on his finger, which was a sign that he had been received back into the family. It was as if he had never been away! (Luke 15:11-31). This parable reflects the love of God for all people; he rejoices when we come home to him! Have you set out yet? You know—it’s never too late!

Gracious Father, thank you for your love—a love that never grows cold, that never fails us, and that is always available despite our past mistakes.

Study by Cliff Neill


About the Author: Cliff Neill is an Elder in Grace Communion Church Luton.

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion Church Luton
Farley Hill Methodist Church
North Drift Way
Farley Hill

Meeting Time:
Saturday 10:30am

Local Congregational Contact:
Harry Sullivan
Phone: 01908-582222
Email: harry_sullivan@wcg.org.uk



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