Weekly Devotional 9-6-11
God Saves According to His Volition
Recently, I received the following testimonial from a brother in Christ, an inmate in the New York Correctional System.
“When George was on the street (before he was incarcerated), he was heavy into the party life; drinking, drugs, clubs and women (even though he was married). He had a daughter by one of the other women, and because of his depraved nature tried to convince the mother to abort her. As a consequence of his heavy use of alcohol and drugs his mind was affected. He suffered memory loss and became academically challenged. Eventually he was arrested and was sentenced for a period of 10 to 12 years. Early on in his incarceration he heard the gospel and was born again spiritually and committed himself to follow Jesus Christ. God worked a miracle and restored his mind. He was able to grasp and retain what he was taking in and began absorbing Scripture like a sponge. He grew in his knowledge of the Lord. With boldness and confidence he began telling others what God had done in his life. He started taking college courses and this year he obtained a bachelor’s degree and two associates degrees. This past June, he graduated with his Master’s degree (I think in Divinity). He is scheduled for release on September 23rd of this year, and has an offer of a position from a mission in Albany.
George was hoping to reconcile with his wife, but she is seeking a divorce and is involved with another man. God, however, has opened the door to a reestablished relationship with his daughter, now 12 years old. George is an extremely smart and gifted man and is committed to serving God.”
George’s story reminds me of a sermon delivered by Charles H. Spurgeon on Ephesians 2:8 titled, “The Grace of God.” “I think it well to turn a little to one side that I may ask my listener to observe adoringly the fountain-head of our salvation, which is the grace of God. ‘By grace are you saved.’ Because God is gracious, sinful men are forgiven, converted, purified, and saved. It is not because of anything in them, or that can be in them, that they are saved; but because of the boundless love, goodness, pity, compassion, mercy, and grace of God. Tarry a moment, then, at the wellhead. Behold the pure river of life, as it proceeds out of the throne of God and of the Lamb! What an abyss is the grace of God! Who can measure its breath? Who can fathom its death? Like all the rest of the divine attributes, it is finite. God is full of love, for ‘God is love.’ God is full of goodness; the very name ‘God’ is short for ‘good.’ Unbounded goodness and love enter into the very essence of the Godhead. It is because ‘His mercy endures forever’ that men are not destroyed, because ‘His compassions fail not’ that sinners are brought to Him and forgiven. Remember this; or you may fall into error by fixing your minds so much upon faith, which is the channel of salvation, as to forget the grace, which is the fountain and source even of faith itself. Faith is the work of God’s grace in us. No man can say that Jesus is the Christ but by the Holy Spirit. ‘No man comes unto me,’ said Jesus ‘except the Father which has sent me draw him’ so that faith, which is coming to Christ, is the result of divine drawing.”
Without the intervention of God, man is in a terrible predicament; lost and separated from Him for eternity. But, because God is a God of boundless love, goodness, pity, compassion, mercy, and grace, men like George can find forgiveness. Did I say men like George? Should not I have said; men like you and me? God’s assessment is, “There is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10), “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). But, “the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23b).
Remember, “16God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. 18He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God” (John 3:16-21).