Friday, October 9, 2009

A Window of Grace

This past Sunday our church had a "guest" speaker, CJ Mahaney -- not really a guest at all, he is as much a part of our church as anyone else that sat before him.  His role in our church made him a "shoo-in" to help us celebrate our 25th anniversary.

One of the issues he addressed as he spoke, was boasting.  As with any milestone we celebrate on this earth, the temptation is to attribute our reaching it as the culmination of our efforts or the fruits of our labors.  CJ cautioned us to keep our eyes on the Author and Finisher of our faith, the One in whom we all should boast.  He drew back the curtain for us, on a window through which we need to view the events of our celebration -- a window that God constructed for us so long ago, one of grace and mercy, providence and blessing.  Even as he spoke, the application of his message was inescapable -- here was this incredible man of God speaking before us, an author, missionary, leader, "family man" to his Christian family as well as his wife and children, an amazing presence -- and it is all "in spite of" what we are as human beings; it is all by grace.

My father went to heaven yesterday.  I envy him.  He was known to his Christian family as a leader, a man of faith, a charitable and loving man with a heart for God and a concern for the lost.  He was known to his immediate family as a flawed human being, a man who was "just a man."  Over the years when others would approach me, gushing over what a wonderful man he was I would bite my tongue to bleeding, force a smile, and run like paint.  I would seethe when I saw him suited up, Bible in hand, readying himself for another "show."  I knew what he did, what he said when the eyes of the church were no longer on him.

God did, too.  Good thing for my father, his Father viewed everything he did, everything he was through the blood of His Son Jesus Christ.  Good thing for all of us.  When my father approached the Throne of Grace, he answered for his life, but Christ answered with His.  It is Christ's blood that gained access for each and every one of us; it is His Death on the Cross, not our deeds and, thankfully, not our misdeeds (heaven would be a very lonely place).  When CJ reminded us on Sunday to look through a window of God's grace and goodness when viewing significant events in life, God knew that very soon I'd be calling on Him to help me look through that very same window at some painful events.

"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast."  (Ephesians 2:8,9)   
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