What is Amazing Grace

What is Amazing Grace

Both the words and the tune is familiar.

Amazing grace! how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch; like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed!

The Lord hath promised good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we first begun.

But Amazing Grace is more than the song. It is the description of God’s greatest gift to mankind–a free gift that provides a pathway to a forever relationship with the God who created everything, including every individual who has ever walked on this earth.

It is God reaching out to us. Yes, reaching out while we were separated from him because of our sin. God sent his one and only son, Jesus Christ to pay the penalty of death that we deserved.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:8

Jesus’ death and subsequent resurrection is God’s gift to all who accept Jesus as Savior and Lord. God’s grace is his unmerited favor bestowed upon repentant sinners. People can do nothing to earn it nor do they deserve it. It is an expression of God’s love for the world he created.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16

This is the Amazing Grace that the song is all about. People are saved from an eternity separated from God and all that is good. Those who accept that sacrifice that Jesus made on their behalf are no longer blinded by their own sin and begin to see what true love, happiness and contentment look like.

Sadly, not all will experience God’s Amazing Grace, but if you want to know how you can, please visit our post, How does one become a Christian?

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Both the words and the tune is familiar.

Amazing grace! how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch; like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed!

The Lord hath promised good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we first begun.

But Amazing Grace is more than the song. It is the description of God’s greatest gift to mankind–a free gift that provides a pathway to a forever relationship with the God who created everything, including every individual who has ever walked on this earth.

It is God reaching out to us. Yes, reaching out while we were separated from him because of our sin. God sent his one and only son, Jesus Christ to pay the penalty of death that we deserved.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:8

Jesus’ death and subsequent resurrection is God’s gift to all who accept Jesus as Savior and Lord. God’s grace is his unmerited favor bestowed upon repentant sinners. People can do nothing to earn it nor do they deserve it. It is an expression of God’s love for the world he created.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16

This is the Amazing Grace that the song is all about. People are saved from an eternity separated from God and all that is good. Those who accept that sacrifice that Jesus made on their behalf are no longer blinded by their own sin and begin to see what true love, happiness and contentment look like.

Sadly, not all will experience God’s Amazing Grace, but if you want to know how you can, please visit our post, How does one become a Christian?

Why do the meek inherit the earth?

Why do the meek inherit the earth?

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

Matthew 5:5

When Jesus spoke of the meek inheriting the earth he was not talking about people who are weak, lacking in courage, or who cower before others. Meek, sometimes translated as “gentle,” is used in the Bible to denote power under control. It is the power that allowed Moses to repeatedly challenge the ruler of a land in which Moses’ people (the Israelites) were enslaved.

Now the man Moses was very meek, more than all people who were on the face of the earth.

Numbers 12:3 ESV

Jesus, described himself as meek and lowly in heart, (Matthew 11:29) and no one would ever mistake Jesus as a powerless weakling who would cower before others. He was the exact opposite. His meekness was reflected in his ability to keep his power under control all the way to the cross so that he could fulfill his mission of dying so that his blood would cover the sins of men.

So what exactly was Jesus saying when he talked about the meek inheriting the earth? He seemed to be echoing (Pslam 37:11) where the writer talks about the meek inheriting land and enjoying peace and prosperity. But the peace and prosperity that Jesus was referring to was permanent and would come after he returned a second time. He was also referring to the prophecy in Isaiah 61 that talked about a coming messiah who brings good news to the poor and brokenhearted, who heals the sick and restores the land.

In other words, Jesus is promising much more than the physical inheriting of Palestine, the promised land into which Moses led his people. Jesus is referring to the recreated earth over which Jesus will reign eternally–to a kingdom now in the hearts of men and a greater, physical kingdom to come after Jesus returns to earth and creates a paradise free from evil, pain, sorrow, and death (Matthew 19:28).

If you would like to personally know Jesus, the meek Son of God who calls his followers to his kind of power under control, we encourage you to read our post How does one become a Christian? 

Why did God allow Adam and Eve to sin? Why is death the result of sin?

Why did God allow Adam and Eve to sin? Why is death the result of sin?

After hearing the story of creation and the Garden of Eden, youngsters at Vacation Bible School posed numerous questions including these two. Let’s start with the second. Sin is everything that is in opposition to God.

God, creator of the universe is the embodiment of love, justice and all that is good. Therefore, that which is unlovely, unjust and bad, qualifies as sin. But sin is more than that. Whenever we choose to put anything—job, possessions, family, wealth, career, personal aggrandizement, etc.—ahead of God, we are turning our back on God and therefore are sinning. God has proclaimed that this sinning separates us from God.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 6:23

When we lose our ability to hear God and to know how to behave according to his standards, we experience a form of spiritual death. This separation from God carries over into the afterlife where that death is forever, and heartache, torment and pain becomes an eternal punishment.

Why, then, did God allow Adam and Eve to sin? This answer is simple. God loved Adam and Eve just as much as he loves each of us. He loved us so much that he says that he made men and women in his image. (Genesis 2:1-25) He gave humans the capacity to think rationally, to communicate with one another and with God, and to love.

Everyone who has loved or been loved understands that love is a choice. God didn’t force man to love him, he offered him a choice. He created a paradise devoid of sin where Adam and Eve enjoyed perfect fellowship with God. They loved him because God love them so much that he provided for all of their needs. Unfortunately, the risk God took in giving humans free will (to love him or not) was that they might choose to reject his guidance as they did when tempted in the garden.

Listening to Satan and choosing to eat of the fruit of the forbidden tree was the first act of sin and resulted in death coming to the first man. (Genesis 3:1-24) Spiritual death came first as man was separated from God and driven out of the garden. Physical death followed for Adam and Eve and everyone thereafter.

However, God didn’t give up on man. His love never stopped. In fact, he loved humans so much that he provided a way to restore fellowship with them. The death that came because sin had to be reconciled. Therefore, God performed an ultimate act of love. He sent his own son, Jesus, to take the punishment for the sins of you and me and everyone who has ever lived and everyone who is yet to be born. All he asks is that each of us who want to have a forever relationship with God, acknowledge that we are sinners in need of redemption and accept the gift of life he has to offer. To learn more about how to obtain this gift of live and turn your back on sin, we encourage you to  read our May 5th blogpost: How does one become a Christian?

Image by Larisa Koshkina from Pixabay
Who was Satan and how did he get into the Garden of Eden?

Who was Satan and how did he get into the Garden of Eden?

At Vacation Bible School a youngster asked: Who was Satan? Another asked: How did he get into the Garden of Eden. The teacher who passed these questions along to us said that these triggered a floodgate of follow-up questions like: Why did Satan get kicked out of heaven? and Why did he look like a snake?

These questions may have been asked by 5th graders, but they have also been pondered by people of all ages for millennia. We don’t know all the answers, but the Bible provides lots of clues–even as it leaves us asking more questions.

Let’s begin by answering the first question: Who was Satan? In Revelation, the last book of the Bible, we read about Satan leading a rebellion in heaven and losing.

Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.

Revelation 12:7-9

From what we read here, God created heavenly beings before he created man, but like man, these beings had free will. They exercised this free will by defying their creator. Led by Satan, they were deceived into thinking that they could be as powerful as God. When they lost a battle against angels who served God, they were hurled to the earth. When did this happen? Why earth and not a billion other places in the universe? These are questions for which we don’t have answers. But, unfortunately, this crafty, cunning former angel was given some level of power while on earth.

It may seem strange to think that God created a being as evil as Satan, but not if one understands evil. God is pure goodness. When one, even an angel like Satan, turns his back to God, he turns his back on goodness. From that point on he becomes evil. When he places anything ahead of God–even things that seem to be good–he loses God’s favor. Without God and the guidelines for living He has laid down, men become self-centered. Every evil in the world can be traced to that self-centered nature because evil is a rejection of God.

It seems strange then to think that evil was allowed into the Garden of Eden, but God had cast Satan to earth where eventually he indwelled a serpent, the most crafty of creatures. That serpent was likely brought into the garden by God along with all the other wild beasts and posed no threat to humankind…until Satan entered it.

The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”
The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals.

Genesis 3:15-20

Satan cannot abide anything that reflects God’s goodness, so it is not surprising that he had his designs on man, God’s greatest creation. If man was made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) then Satan had to try and destroy man–to make him turn his back on his creator. What better way to do that than to indwell a serpent.

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”

“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

Genesis 3:1-5

Since neither the man, Adam, nor the woman, Eve, knew anything other than goodness as they communed with God in the garden, they would not have reason to cringe at the sight of any beast or even a serpent. So Satan chose that creature to be his voice, tempting Eve with an idea that seemed not only very rational but very good as well–to be like God!

Once men and women turned their backs on God, their punishment was death–eternal separation from God. That’s why God set in motion a plan of redemption that would culminate with the death of God’s own son, Jesus, on a Roman cross, and his subsequent resurrection and triumph over death.

If you would like to know more about what this redemption means for you, I encourage you to read our May 5th blogpost: How does one become a Christian?

Image by Denis Doukhan from Pixabay

What Can a Person do to have a Clean Heart?

What Can a Person do to have a Clean Heart?

There is a familiar quote that says,” Cleanliness is next to Godliness.” We know from life experiences that when something or someone becomes soiled a bath or a cleaning up is required. We wash clothes, dishes, cars and of course our bodies to keep them clean and get the dirt out. In our supermarkets, whole aisles are dedicated to cleaning supplies and a like amount of space is filled with hundreds of products that promise to clean and refresh our bodies hair and teeth. As with people in most cultures, outward appearances are considered important.

 Unfortunately, what most people fail to recognize is that while ‘man’ looks at the outside God looks and sees the inside He’s more interested in the condition of the human heart. God’s standard of clean is perfection because He is Holy. In this context, we are not referring to the beating physical heart but to the very essence of a person’s being, or the real self that resides within the human eternal soul. The word ‘heart’ is used to define an individual’s personality and character. In other words, the real you is on full display to God at all times.  

 A person cannot achieve a clean heart on his or her own efforts. A clean heart is only possible by the cleansing power of the Holy Spirit through a life-transforming personal relationship with the person of Jesus Christ. So, therein lies the answer. While there is absolutely nothing a person can do to achieve a clean heart, God can and wants to do just that for everyone because all human beings are created in His image.

It becomes a matter of personal choice and a decision of the will. In Psalm 51:1-2 we read King David’s prayer,” Have mercy on me O God…cleanse me from my sin…create in me a pure clean heart.” David is pleading with God to make his heart new, forgive his sin and receive the cleansing power of the Holy Spirit to keep it pure so he can have a restored loving relationship with God in the present and for all eternity. God is waiting to cleanse your heart today. All you need to do is ask. It’s that simple. Why wait? No one is assured of tomorrow. If you’d like to learn more about how God can give you a clean heart, check out our post:  How does one become a Christian?

Image by un-perfekt from Pixabay

What is the primary difference between Christianity and all other world religions?

What is the primary difference between Christianity and all other world religions?

The simple answer is, Jesus! Why? Because he alone saves.

When Jesus was comforting his disciples, he explained:

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

John 14:6

Only Christianity offers absolute assurance of eternal life as it is a gift of God’s grace for all who by faith trust in Jesus as Savior and Lord. (Ephesians 2:8). Christianity is about Jesus, the Cross (forgiveness of sins) and his Resurrection and Ascension, and his second coming.

The founders of all other religions are dead. They have offered some sound platitudes for living a moral life, but no hope for eternity based on solid evidence.They are religions of good works and self sacrifice to gain a pardon for the worshiper’s sins.