There was a time in my life when I did not understand God’s love for me. I am not addressing the time before I knew of him, for I “accepted him into my heart” when I was 14 years old. I am speaking about the next 31 years after my “salvation” experience. As I look back now I am amazed at how I once believed that the sacrifice of Jesus was not good enough to completely atone for my sins. You see, it has just dawned on me that at least when the Jews made a yearly sacrifice, they knew that their sins were forgiven, no matter what they had done the past year. But in my religious mind, I never knew that my sins were forgiven, even though God said it. (Col 2:13-14). It was my belief that I had to be “perfect” all the time or God would throw me into Hell. That is if I slipped and forgot to say “forgive me” before I died, like I was taught by the kid’s prayer that says, “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, if I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.” For you see this prayer teaches that one has to do something, (ask for forgiveness), before death so the Lord will “take” the soul.
I thank God that I have come to understand a better way. This better way is the way of GRACE and not works. A more suitable prayer to learn might be, “Now I lay me down to sleep, I thank you Lord my soul you keep, if I should die before I wake, you save my soul for your name’s sake.” (1John 2:12).
It was when Father made me to comprehend his eternal, infallible love that I came to a place of understanding that nothing can separate us from the love of God. (Rom. 8:38-39). Now I was able to find the freedom to return love to him and to others. The Bible tells us in 1 John 4:20 & 21, “ If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.” At this point I recognized my calling as his son and knew I was to be about Fathers business. When asked what Father’s business might be I reply as in 2 Cor 5:18, “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation." We are commissioned to tell the world of his grace and love toward all mankind.
Stacy and I wish you each a Happy Holiday Season. We love you one and all and we look forward to being with the body of Christ, members is particular, this spring.