Women from the Hoving Home, of Oxford, NJ, ministered at Faith Discovery Church yesterday. The mission of that ministry is to ‘rebuild shattered lives’ through faith in Jesus Christ. Two of the young women told a little of their stories- poor choices, addiction, ruin, broken relationships, and sadness. There were not too many dry eyes in the room after they spoke and sang about the “Chain Breaker.” Will recovery be easy for those women? Not at all. Will it be a long road to a restored life? Of course, but with lots of love and support, it happens. God declares them His daughters, their sins past tense through the grace of Jesus Christ.
On this Monday morning, let’s begin the week with hearts filled up with joy in the declaration of God about who we are. Our road might not have all the dramatic lows of which some can speak. We have not all ended up homeless in the streets or addicted to heroin, but we are all slaves of sin and Self – separated from God, our Father, until found by His grace.
Here’s how Paul was inspired to tell it – “At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.” (Titus 3:2-7, NIV)
“He saved us …” Did you read those words and breathe a prayer of thankfulness? The word that Paul uses there in the original text of the New Testament is a rich one. “Sozo” is not just about some spiritual transaction that is unseen, a fine point of theology. It is a description of God’s work that transforms us from the terminal illness of sin to the radiant spiritual health, that restores our wholeness of person.
How does the Lord do it? He washes us, as clean and pure as a newborn baby, through rebirth! Jesus told an old religious leader, Nicodemus, you must be ‘born again.’ It puzzled the old man, and he wondered aloud how he could enter his mother’s womb again! Talk about being overly literal. God miraculously enters into our lives and we emerge a new creation, reborn into the world with new possibilities. There is the renewal of the Holy Spirit, God who lives in us, so that we no longer think as we once did, no longer hope for what we did in the past, nor are we trapped by the patterns of our past! Oh, what a Savior.
Let’s not make conversion just about learning some dogma, joining an organization, or tinkering at the edge of life to modify our behavior. Let’s enter fully, by faith, into this new life – restored to relationship with God and because we are His children, having the assurance that we are written into His plan for eternity; “heirs having the hope of eternal life
Choose to walk with the Lord, making sin past tense today. Here is the word from the Word. “It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.
It’s in Christ that you, once you heard the truth and believed it (this Message of your salvation), found yourselves home free—signed, sealed, and delivered by the Holy Spirit. This signet from God is the first installment on what’s coming, a reminder that we’ll get everything God has planned for us, a praising and glorious life.” (Ephesians 1:11-14, The Message)
What A Savior
(Some Southern Gospel. Enjoy)
Once I was straying in sin’s dark valley
No hope within could I see
They searched thro’ heaven and found a Savior
To save a poor lost soul like me
O what a Savior O hallelujah
His heart was broken on Calvary
His hands were nail-scarred
His side was riven
He gave His lifeblood for even me
He left the Father with all His riches
With calmness sweet and serene
Came down from heaven and gave His lifeblood
To make the vilest sinner clean
Death’s chilly waters I’ll soon be crossing
His hand will lead me safe o’er
I’ll join the chosen in that great city
And sing up there forevermore
Marvin P. Dalton © 1948. Renewed 1976 Stamps Quartet Music (Admin. by ClearBox Rights, LLC)
CCLI License # 810055