Colossians was written during Paul’s imprisonment, but the letter does not tell us where he is imprisoned. Paul wrote to the church in Colosse in response to the disturbing news about the presence of heretical teaching being taught and threatening the well-life of the church.
Paul’s reason for writing Colossians was threefold:
Regarding the heresy a dangerous position making its way into the Colossian church was the devaluation of the person of Jesus Christ. To those holding to and teaching this heresy, Jesus Christ was not the victorious Savior to whom all authority in heaven and on earth had been committed. To them he was only one of many spirit beings who spanned the space between God and men.
So, in response to the heresy Paul writes to the Colossians to proclaim the ultimate supremacy and sole sufficiency of Jesus Christ. It is essentially Paul’s full thesis on Jesus Christ. Today we are going to look at some of his teaching that refutes the widespread heresy in Colosse.
Colossians 1:13 - 23
Vs. 13: “For He has Rescued us from the kingdom of darkness”. The word rescued is from a Greek word that means to liberate, save, or deliver someone from something or someone. Jesus has delivered or saved us from eternal damnation. Before any of us became a Christ follower we were at enmity with or an enemy of God… We were bound for hell. But Paul tells us in verse 13 that Jesus intervened, and he rescued us from eternal damnation through his willing sacrifice on the cross.
He transferred or removed from one place and put into another those who believe in faith. This transfer meant that when you believed you were plucked from the shackles of death, sin, and brokenness and placed into the glory of God’s presence, His Kingdom and placed under the rule and dominion of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
Kingdom of his dear Son – According to John MacArthur in his commentary on Acts, “The Father gives the kingdom to the Son He loves, then to everyone who loves the Son.” This kingdom is the royal power granted or given to all who believe in Christ.
Vs 14: In Christ we have redemption which leads to forgiveness.
Redemption – Liberation or being redeemed. Redemption is a term that speaks of a release brought about by the payment of a price The ransom payment or price was paid on the cross of Calvary. Christ took our debt of sin that we could not pay and paid the ultimate price so we can receive salvation to any who believe faith. This redemption leads to forgiveness. When we are redeemed we are pardoned from sin and by faith we are released from its bondage. God no longer sees the sin we lived in, for in Christ He has thrown our sins as far as the east is to the west and remembers them no more.
The Supremacy of Jesus Christ.
Vs 15: In this verse Paul acknowledges the heresy being spread and puts it to rest by declaring the supremacy of Jesus Christ. He writes, “He is he image of the invisible God” Jesus Christ is God in human flesh. He is the true representation and replica, if you will, of God Almighty. In Jesus Christ, the invisible God has become visible. If we want to know the father, then we must look at the son. John 10:30 says, “I and the father are one.” There is no distinction between the two.
Vs 16: In Christ all things were created by Him (He is the Creator). Everything in Heaven and earth was created by Him. He is the Lord of all creation. In Christ all things were created in Him and for Him (God). All of creation was created for His purpose and His glory.
Vs 17: He is before all things and in Him all things are held together. Jesus is eternal and he is not only the author of all creation, but he is the sustainer as well.
Vs 18 -19: Jesus is the head of the Church. To be head of the church is to be sovereign or supreme. In the ancient to modern church, the pastor, the Deacons, Trustees, church council, not even the congregation are the ultimate authority. Preeminent – Hold first place. IN EVERYTHING Jesus must hold first place in our lives and Church. We need to affirm the headship of Christ as our authority. Therefore, prayer is a vital aspect of Church life. If we want to know the direction our church should be heading, it is important that we find out what the “boss” wants us to do. This includes every aspect of the body from the music we play, the sermons I preach and the future of our congregation. Christ is the head of the Church, and He is also the head of the believer’s life as well. We are subject to him.
Vs 20: It pleased the Father to reconcile us to Him. He enjoys restoring fellowship with Him. In our redemption we are forgiven and restored to proper fellowship with God Almighty. This includes all of creation.
The only way we may be brought back to proper standing with the Father is through the blood of Jesus Christ. He has made peace with us through the shed blood of Jesus Christ.
Vs 21: B.C. Before Christ we were enemies of God and were shut from his intimacy and fellowship. We were hostile toward God because of the sin in our lives.
Vs 22: Reconciled and presented holy in His sight, perfect and without guilt. Christians we need to start living this and believing it. We are Holy in God’s sight, we are without blemish, and we stand innocent before Him, NOT because of who we are or what we have done but because of what Christ has done. He has reconciled us through his blood, and we are now his children
Vs 23: IF you continue in your faith, if you have been reconciled to God then live like it. Our works are not the reason we are saved, they are the evidence of our redemption.
Many people have become followers of Jesus by responding to an altar call given at church, camp, or a conference. I have seen numerous people go forward and experience some intense emotion but soon (usually a couple of days) find themselves slowly going back to their old habits and sinful lifestyle. A lot of people have the misconception that all they need to do is go forward for an altar call and they become a Christian. Unfortunately for many it is all too common that it is just an intense emotional response that rarely makes an impact in someone’s life.
The NLT says, “You must continue to believe this truth (the Gospel message) and stand firmly in it.” Paul warns the believer to not “drift away”. Drifting from God is a subtle thing. Mostly when people drift away they don’t even realize they have. Have you ever been to the beach and seen a person floating on a raft or boat? The person starts out near the shoreline and may fall asleep or isn’t paying attention and eventually finds himself a good distant from the shoreline… sometimes dangerously far away. This person drifted away, and he may not have even realized it at the time. This happens to so many Christians. We make the commitment to Christ and just float around in the world, trying to fit in and not having a care about anything. We begin to neglect our relationship with Christ and start spending more time in the world and less time with Christ and eventually we find ourselves so far away from Him we no longer have a relationship with Him. It’s a subtle and sad thing, but it happens all the time. The subtlety of drifting is dangerous, and this is why Paul tells us to stand firmly in the message of Christ.
If you are truly reconciled, you will remain in the faith. This does not mean that you have permission to live however you want because you are saved. Nowhere in the Bible does it give anyone permission to live however they want because they are saved and cannot lose their salvation.
However, if we are truly reconciled to God, our lives will be changed forever. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” When you are saved your life will change. I believe this means more than you won’t swear as much, or you will cut back on drinking, or you will become a better father. It is true those things will be a result, but the true change happens in your heart. You will begin to desire the true spiritual things. You will become more than a better person; you will become a man or woman who is completely submitted to God. You will begin to understand what it means to “take up your cross and follow me”, you will know and experience what it means to love your neighbor as yourself and how to show true forgiveness. Your life will be turned upside down. People won’t recognize you because you are now a new creation in Christ.
So, what is the purpose of this message? Let me tie it all together for you so you will leave with an undisputed understanding of what the core of Christianity is. For this believer the following is true for you to the unbeliever this is what God’s plan of redemption is for you…
 Curtis Vaughan, “Colossians,” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Ephesians through Philemon, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein, vol. 11 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1981), 180.
What is your perception of God? Is it based on the Bible or is it based on your personal feelings, thoughts, and theories about God? People have varying ideas about God and more specifically the God of the Bible. Does it really matter what we think about Him? Maybe you think about God as a big mean giant in the sky waiting to strike sinners dead, or you view Him as an uninvolved spiritual entity that doesn’t meddle in human affairs, or as an all loving, all-encompassing grandpa who never disciplines or condemns this does not change who He is.
I believe that on the one hand it does not matter how we perceive Him, because how we think of him does not change WHO He is. He is the same regardless of our opinions. On the other hand, I do believe the way we identify with Him does affect how we live for and worship Him. If we only perceive him as a mean and vengeful God, our relationship with him will be based on an unhealthy fear and dread of Him. If we think He is an undisciplined grandpa who tolerates everything, then we may live our lives with very loose moral boundaries and lack proper a healthy reverent view of God. Here is the reality, God is a loving God who is slow to anger, tolerant of our misgivings, and He absolutely extends forgiveness to those who seek it. He is also a God of wrath, vengeance, judgment, and He will punish those who deny Him as LORD, King, and savior.
Today we are going to talk a subject that pastors either avoid or focus on all the time and that is the wrath or anger of God. In my life whenever I heard a sermon about God’s wrath and judgment it was either hellfire and brimstone preachers shouting at congregations to get saved so they won’t spend an eternity in hell. Or they were soft spoken preachers who would dodge or glass over the subject and not want to focus on God’s anger because it made God look mean. Personally, I think many pastors and Christians in general avoid the subject all together and choose not to talk too much about it because first, let’s face it, God’s wrath is a downright terrifying subject. A quick reading of much of the Old Testament and Revelation shows us this. Second, we think it makes God look bad and mean. We think it is bad PR for God to talk about his judgment. Third, we don’t like to think God gets angry with us.
Before I continue, I do want to make a disclaimer. I am focusing on God’s wrath today because we see in the Bible His holy and righteous wrath, as much as His loving kindness. It is good thing to have a healthy perspective and respect for God’s anger because it will ultimately help us to have a relationship with God that is healthy and respectful.
We are made aware of God’s wrath in this world and the passage we will look at establishes the truth that God does get angry, He does have wrath, and He will punish and discipline. We see there are indeed certain things that make Him angry. Today we will look at three specific things (in this passage) that makes God angry. These three sins are a succession of attitudes that lead to eventual godlessness, full blown sin, and complete condemnation.
Before we move along it is important to determine that the God’s wrath God is not the type of wrath, and anger we have as humans which can be uncontrolled, hot, and explosive. God’s wrath is a righteous anger that is holy and completely controlled and stems from God’s hatred of sin and not the sinner. The following three acts of sin can serve as warnings to us and give us insight as to why some never do come to faith in Christ.
Romans 1:18 - 23
Suppress the Truth
Vs 18 - 20: The first act of the unrighteous that angers God is how humanity is prone to suppress the truth. Paul writes in verses 19 and 20 that God has revealed himself to us. In His revelation and creation, He has revealed the truth to us. God in his wonderful mercy gave humanity a glimpse of who He is (verse 19), his divine nature, and His power through His creation (verse 20). God gave us the beauty of His creation to point us to Him, the Creator. This revelation is a theological term called general revelation. General revelation is God revealing himself to humanity through his creation (note this is a revelation that points to him and is not a saving revelation). God will be known to all humanity. His desire and our purpose is for all creation to worship Him; He wants us to give Him full acknowledgement of His divine power and nature, so much so that he reveals himself to us through nature. General revelation it is a peek at who God is, not a full revelation. I have asked you all on various occasion how often do you go out on a clear night and gaze awe of the beauty and immensity of the stars in the sky? Do you ever look up before or after a storm hits at dusk and observe the beautiful pink sky highlighting the massive cumulus clouds. Or spent an evening at the beach watching the sun set into the Gulf. It’s beautiful! I do this often! Have you witnessed the majesty of God when you see his beautiful creation that surrounds us? God has revealed himself so clearly that we are all without excuse. We cannot stand before and say, “I never knew you existed because you never revealed yourself to me!” WRONG ANSWER!
Paul writes there are people who know this and yet they still choose to not believe. The truth is evident (God’s revelation) yet they suppress this truth. The cost is too high for them, and they choose not to follow. Simply put, they are unwilling to exchange what they think is their freedom, happiness, fun and individuality to follow God. Yet if they would truly follow Him, they would know that only true freedom, fun, happiness, and individuality comes with a right relationship with God. They suppress the truth of God in their lives. The word suppress is an action word and it means to actively hold down by authority or force. Suppression leads to the second act that makes God angry.
Vs 21: People who intellectually know God exists but choose to deny him and live according to their own selfish motives live dishonoring lives. I can’t tell you how many books I have read or movies that I have watched by renown scientists who are either agnostic, atheists or irreligious intellectuals who acknowledge a Creator, but refuse to give credit to Him because it does not fit in their scientific worldview and acknowledgment would entail having to rethink their views, education, and beliefs. I am not anti-science because I believe science is wonderful and has been helpful to humanity throughout history. I am a supporter of science. What I am not a supporter of is taking God out of science. When scientists refuse to acknowledge God as being part of the equation and giving credit to science is plagiarism in the extreme. Plagiarism is taking the credit for something that is not your own. This is what science has done, it takes the credit for something it did not create. In the eyes of God when we give precedence to human intellect and science instead of the Creator, we thus become fools. When we do not give God the proper credit and honor, He deserves I believe makes God rightfully and righteously angry.
People often say that science and God are at odds with each other, but I disagree whole-heartedly. There are many Christian scientists in the world who are willing to acknowledge God as creator and still acknowledge science as important. There are 1,000s of scientists who belong to a foundation called BioLogos. There statement of faith is BioLogos explores God’s Word and God’s World to inspire authentic faith for today. Our vision is faith and science working hand in hand. We can still honor God and still value science.
Vs 23: The result of suppressing the truth and dishonoring God leads to idolatry. When we refuse to give God proper credit, we in turn give the credit to someone/something else and this is not only plagiarism, but it is also idolatry. Anything that takes precedence over God becomes an idol. God is very clear that He is a jealous God, and He will not share the glory with ANYONE OR ANYTHING. This verse talks about the fact that the unrighteous would rather serve an empty, dead, vain idol rather than give credit to the true Creator. These people would rather worship a lie than acknowledge the truth.
So What? Now What?
So what? Now what? These are the two questions I want to ask and conclude this sermon.
The first question “So what?” asks “What is the purpose of this message?” Why should I care about what you have been talking about for that past few minutes? The answer… to show that God is a loving, merciful, and forgiving God, but He is also a God of wrath and will not let sin go unpunished. We need a healthy perspective and fear of God’s wrath. When His truth is suppressed, we dishonor him and ultimately turn to full-fledged idolatry and God cannot and will not tolerate this.
The second question, “Now what?” responds with so what do we do with this information? Answer, “Since God has made Himself known to us through creation, we need give him proper the praise, glory, and honor He deserves.” How do we do this? Look at the beauty of His Creation around us and the miracle of life He has given us all and acknowledge Him as the author of it all. In response let our lives be full of worship and praise for His beauty and majesty for He is worthy of all praise.
The letter to the Romans is not one that we can be casually read or skimmed over. There are deep sayings, teachings, or doctrines found within. Romans was written by the Apostle Paul on his third missionary journey (probably from Corinth) when he was heading back to Jerusalem with money, he had collected from the Gentile churches throughout Asia to take back to the Church in Judea. It is a doctrinal book, and as Martin Luther wrote, it is the “purest Gospel”. It is at its core the Apostle Paul’s theology which is deeply rooted in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is believed to provide the fullest extent of Paul’s theology, but it is not necessarily his complete theology.
If I may mansplain for a moment, theology means study of the nature of God and religious belief. There are multiple themes throughout this letter, so it is difficult to pinpoint one specific theme, but it is widely accepted that theme is the gospel or God’s plan or act of salvation to those who believe & God’s judgment to those who reject it. However, the theme is not just about knowing about the Gospel, it was also Paul’s vision to see the gospel spread throughout the world. According to the ESV Study Bible, “A closer look at Romans reveals another purpose as well (other than the Gospel). Paul wanted the Christians in Rome to rally around his gospel so that Rome would become the base of operations by which he could proclaim the gospel in Spain (15:22–24). If Roman Christians did not agree with Paul's gospel message, especially on the issues being debated among Jews and Gentiles, then they would not support his proposed mission to Spain. Paul needed to explain the gospel in some detail so that the Christians in Rome would become the base from which he could proclaim the gospel in new regions.”
Romans 1:1 - 7
Vs: 1 – 7: Three key statements in this passage…
Paul’s second key statement is that he is called to be an Apostle (his power). The words “called Apostle” are defined as one who is divinely selected by decree of God to be a delegate or messenger. Paul is not a self-appointed Apostle. He is a God appointed Apostle. Being called as an Apostle was imperative to Paul’s ongoing service. He needed to establish his authority to affirm what he is doing was not by the appointment of man, but by the appointment of God.
Paul’s third key statement was that he was set apart for the Gospel (his purpose). According to Acts 13:2 - 3 Paul was appointed or set apart for the purpose of sharing the Good News. The gospel (Good News) was a promise from the beginning and was delivered by the prophets of the Holy Scripture. The Gospel was promised since the beginning of time. We can go back to Genesis 3 and see the salvation message proclaimed by God after Adam and Eve fell in the garden. The Gospel is the message and hope of the O.T. and all the prophets and the forefathers of faith as they eagerly anticipated the fulfillment of the promise foretold to them 1,000’s of years before they came to pass in Jesus Christ. We will look more closely at the message of the gospel shortly.
Vs: 8 – 15: Paul continues as he thanks God for the believers in Rome. Since there were believers in Rome the word was starting to get around about this body of Christ followers and his prayer is for God to provide a way for him to come visit them. If you recall God had hindered Paul from going to Rome, yet he believed wholeheartedly God wanted him to go there (which eventually he did in chains). So why did Paul want to visit Rome? It was purposeful and precise
The Gospel: Nothing to be Ashamed Of
We now get to the theme of this letter namely the Gospel.
Vs 16: Paul declares, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel… Why do you think Paul declares this so boldly? Paul was in some ways “prideful” or “boastful” of the Gospel. The cross of Christ and the Gospel were considered by many outsiders (and even today) to be foolishness. It was considered a crutch, or superstitions, or a fairy tale or just plain idiotic. People who followed the cross were thus considered fools as well.
The word Gospel is derived from the Greek word Euaggeleion (Yoo-ang-ghel-ee-on) which means good tidings or good news. The glad tidings of the kingdom of God that is still to come and also the good news of Jesus the Messiah. Central themes of the Gospel – Ultimately it is salvation through Christ
Many Christians have the idea of salvation wrong. They think that the Gospel is a “get out of hell free” card or is a “fire protection” policy. It is more than being saved from eternal death. It is the guarantee of a fruitful and abundant life on earth and the inheritance of future glory (eternal life). Salvation is for everyone who believes. Saving faith or putting complete faith and trust in God who justifies sinners through the cross of Chris“To the Jew first and also to the Greek” – Salvation (through the Gospel) is for everyone (Jews and Greeks) however this verse means the Gospel was first given to the Jews originally and eventually was made available to Gentiles.
The Gospel and the Righteousness of God
Not only does the Gospel show the power of God unto salvation but also in this Gospel the righteousness of God is revealed. Righteousness – This is an attribute which means all that is right. The Gospel brings light to or uncovers the faithfulness, goodness, kindness, grace, mercy justice and proper(ness) of God. There is no wrong, evil or injustice in Him. God’s righteousness is unveiled from faith for faith.
From faith – God’s faithfulness (he keeps his promises). For faith – The faith of an individual (believing unto salvation) This ultimately means nothing but faith can make us right with God. Without faith it is impossible to please God. Since in the Gospel God’s faithfulness is shown and our faith is sustained the end result is living by faith. We are made right with God by the Gospel thus we live by faith. The word live means made alive or enjoy life. We are made alive and enjoy life through faith.
Do you believe there are people that are so sinful they cannot be saved? Let me answer that question for you with a big fat NO! We serve a loving, merciful, and forgiving God whose grace extends forever.
How do you feel when you hear stories about murderers, criminals and predators coming to faith in Jesus? Sometimes people can be judgmental, bitter, angry, and self-righteous in their responses. Some believe that there are some who’s sin is so great that they could never be saved. I believe that regardless of what someone has done in the past; God’s grace, love, mercy, and forgiveness is available to all who encounter Jesus Christ and respond to his call to become a follower of Him.
Maybe some of you here today may have been considered by someone at one time too far gone to be saved. Maybe some felt you were too deep in your sin and believed that you could ever change your evil and sinful ways. I was. There was one person in my life who considered me beyond salvation and ironically after some time become one of my best friends. There was another person who prayed diligently for me, and I believe I became a Christian because of his prayers. Both eventually became by best friends, mentors, and role models. Thom and Drew were unique individuals. I have shared stories with you about them regularly. I am thankful for them because they cared enough to invest in me as a young believer.
Drew is one of my best friends. He lives in the state of Washington. He is an artist and creates the artwork for Saddleback Kids Stories of the Bible video series. Drew and I became friends early in my teenage years. We used to hang out all the time. However, there was a point in our lives where we went in opposite ways (he became a Christian and I wanted nothing to do with Christianity) but we still remained friends. He watched out for me during my rebellious years. I look back and I remember that I did many stupid (and irresponsible) things as a college student. I was living in rebellion. I lived a reckless and sin infested life. To say I was a rough individual would be an understatement. I lived in complete abandonment of rules and regulations. Fortunately, and thankfully, Drew was there to watch out for me. He cared about me, he was concerned for my safety and most of all he wanted me to meet Jesus. In an odd sort of way Drew had a servant’s attitude as he would accompany me to parties and bars to make sure I stayed out of trouble. He shared Jesus with me often and I would just pass him off as a Jesus freak. My other friend Thom, would often say to Drew, “Why do you waste your time on Jeff? He is never going to change.” Thankfully Drew did not believe that, nor did he give up on me. Eventually Thom came around and realized I was worth the investment.
I am not only thankful for the prayers and investments of Drew and Thom, but I am also thankful for the grace of God. I am thankful for Ephesians 2:8, “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.
No one in this room today who is a born-again follower of Jesus can say, “I am a Christian because of something I did.” Not even one of us is so good, pure, moral, and holy that we deserve God’s grace and not one of is so far gone, sinful, or lost to receive God’s grace. We should rejoice and be thankful for the God’s extending grace.
Saul to Paul (Sinner to Saint)
Acts 9:1 - 9
Vs. 1: The Apostle Paul truly understands, appreciates, and loves the grace of God. This was not always the case though. He may not have fully understood grace until he has his encounter with Jesus Christ. Paul loved grace. Grace – “God’s unmerited kindness shown to undeserving humanity.” Grace what a beautiful word. God’s grace, it is a beautiful theological truth. Without grace we are all lost.
However, Paul was not always a grace loving, Jesus preaching, messenger of hope that we know him to be.
Before Paul had his Christ encounter, he was one of those individuals that many believed was too far gone to be saved. Before he became the Apostle Paul he was known as Saul. He was an aspiring Pharisee who was quickly making a name for himself. We are introduced to him in Acts 7 as the young man who looked on with approval while holding the cloaks of the elders and scribes who stoned the Apostle Stephen.
Early in his career Saul launched a campaign against this newly rising Christian movement that ravaged homes, threatened, murdered, and arrested men and women and threw them into prison. It was all done with the approval of the religious leadership of his time. This tyrant caused a great dispersion among believers (which we now know was part of God’s plan) who fled for their lives and relocated to different Jewish and Gentile cities. Charles Swindoll writes, “He hated the name of Jesus, so much so, he became a self-avowed, violent aggressor, persecuting and killing Christians in allegiance to the God of heaven.”
Saul was born a Jew in the city of Tarsus. In his youth he went to Jerusalem to study under the teachings of Gamaliel (Acts 22:3), who was perhaps one of the most notable of first century sages. Saul was totally committed to the Law as interpreted and understood by the Rabbis, and he became a member of the sect of Pharisees with high aspirations. To Saul, followers of Jesus were heretics, and they were an abomination to the God he served. In response to this he joined in the persecution of the Christian church. He would stop at nothing to accomplish the goal of destroying Christianity.
Paul’s Christ Encounter
Vs 2, 3: Saul approaches the high priest and asked for letters to the synagogue at Damascus to seek out and arrest anyone who was a follower of Jesus. He set out for his 150-mile journey (It would take him about a week). But, on the road to Damascus Saul encounters the risen Jesus Christ and has a life-changing and altering conversion experience that changes his life radically. He literally became a new person with a new outlook and purpose.
Vs 3 - 5: “a light from heaven suddenly shone down around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?’ ‘Who are you, lord?’ Saul asked. And the voice replied, “I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting
At this moment Jesus, in his grace, reached down and called the man who was persecuting his people to become one of the people he was persecuting. Isn’t grace amazing? In God’s never-ending grace he stops a murderer (Saul) dead (pardon the pun) in his tracks and calls him to become that which the murderer despises. Jesus tells him to stop his crusade against Christianity and do what he is told to do. In one fell swoop he went from murder of Christians to a messenger of the grace of Jesus Christ to both Jews and Gentiles.
This all happens with men who were traveling with Saul, and they stood there speechless because they could hear what was going on but not see anything happening. This encounter was a time where God pours his grace on Saul, and he is converted to Christ. His life will never ever be the same again.
In this short passage we witness an event that has reshaped the face of Christianity. We watch a murderous tyrant come face to face with the savior and he has a salvation experience that completely changed his world. Paul understood that day that all he had devoted his life to destroying was in fact a movement of God. Before he encountered Jesus Paul was completely dependent upon himself and his works for his righteousness. Eventually he realizes that all the law keeping, and rule following was all for naught. Paul writes late in life in Philippians 3:4 – 11… Paul acknowledges that his conversion and transformed life is all a result of God’s grace. He says if anyone could boast in the flesh of his works it would be him. When he met Jesus on the road to Damascus, he realized it was all loss in relation to the grace of God. Paul knows and acknowledges that salvation is only attained by God’s grace.
GRACE! It is the gift from God, it is not something we deserve, He has given it to us regardless of who we are or what we have done. Salvation does not depend on how good you are, how popular you are or how little you sin in life. It depends solely on the work of Jesus Christ on the cross and our response to His offer of the gift.
God has an abundance of grace and love for you. This love and grace were displayed on the cross of Calvary. Even when you were entrenched in your sinful ways and living in complete disregard for Jesus it didn’t take away the reality and truth that Jesus gave His life for you. God’s love for you is never ending. Jesus didn’t die on the cross based upon your response to Him, He did it so you and all humanity who believe could receive redemption, life, and eternal joy.
You and I have been saved by grace. We didn’t deserve to be saved; we deserve hell. God’s unmerited favor was shown to you and me, He provided a way. He gave us THE gift from God.
Regardless of your past we need to realize that our salvation is based solely upon what Christ did for us (His grace). When you were called by God it was because He first loved you, not vice versa. Your response to Him is based upon your conviction of sin by the Holy Spirit, that leads to repentance, and the realization that you are indeed sinful and in need of a savior.
Nobody in the room is so sinful or so far removed from God that He cannot extend his hand of grace to you. God’s grace has the power to transform. God’s grace has the power to turn sinners into saints.
Jeff has been in full-time ministry for thirty years. He currently serves as Executive Director at Anchor House Ministry at SeaPort Manatee in Palmetto, FL and he is a part-time Campus Pastor at West Bradenton Southside in Bradenton, Florida.
Jeff Has authored A Lent Devotional (A Spiritual Journey to Lent) an Advent Devotional (The Advent of Jesus) and a devotional on the book of James (James: Where Faith and Life Meet). All three are available on Amazon.
He is married to Carrie and they have four children, Micaiah, Gabe, Simon, and Berea.
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