1st December 2018

But God…

“But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.”
Romans 5:8 (NLT)

If we are truly honest, we will all admit that we have done things in our lives that were wrong, things that we are ashamed of now. In other words, we all have regrets about our lives and probably even think, “If I knew then what I know now that would never have happened!”

Have you ever had this thought? The apostle Paul did and often in his writings in the New Testament we read about his regrets for his actions; “For I am the least of all the apostles. In fact, I’m not even worthy to be called an apostle after the way I persecuted God’s church.” Wow, what courage! This letter to the Christians in Corinth was probably read by and to hundreds of people; would we be brave enough to admit that? He goes on to say, “But whatever I am now, it is all because He poured out his special favour on me—and not without results. For I have worked harder than any of the other apostles; yet it was not I but God who was working through me by his grace” (1 Corinthians 15: 9-10 italics mine).

It is recorded in Acts 8:1 that Saul [later known as Paul] was one of the official witnesses at the killing of Steven. Later, in a murderous rage he went from house to house dragging out men and women who were known to be followers of Jesus, to be thrown in jail (Verse 3). Then it gets worse: because of his rabid hatred of everything and everyone that had any connection to Jesus, he goes to the high priest for some official authority. Notice in Acts 9:1-2 (NLT), “Meanwhile, Saul was uttering threats with every breath and was eager to kill the Lord’s followers. So he went to the high priest. He requested letters addressed to the synagogues in Damascus, asking their co-operation in the arrest of any followers of the Way he found there. He wanted to bring them—both men and women—back to Jerusalem in chains.”

Paul was only too aware of his shortcomings and all the misery he had caused in the lives of Christians, but he was also aware of the love and mercy of God. He writes in Ephesians 2:4-5 (Phillips, italics mine), “But even though we were dead in our sins God, who is rich in mercy, because of the great love he had for us, gave us life together with Christ—it is, remember, by grace and not by achievement that you are saved.” This is how God deals with us, giving us what we don’t deserve—grace, and withholding what we do—death! I guess we should constantly remind ourselves of those two small words—“But God…!”

Great Father, your mercy is indeed higher than the heavens are above the earth. Please accept our grateful thanks for words like, “But God!”

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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