Tag Archives: Ephesians

It Is Finished Even as It Begins

A new year begins today. It’s another year to live and work and play, and to make resolutions to be better than last year. It’s another year in which many will again strive to earn God’s grace and their own salvation by singing in the choir, volunteering for the altar guild, giving to the poor, attending church or mass each week, or any number of other good deeds.

But why do we work so hard to add to what Jesus has already done? Why do we try to earn what has been given as a gift from God? On Calvary Hill Jesus said, “It is finished.” John 19:30. Paul wrote that Jesus said to him, “My grace is sufficient for you.” 2 Corinthians 12:9. There is nothing more that we can or need to do for our salvation.

Even the act of believing in Jesus, the ability to have faith in His saving grace, is a gift from God: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV).

So as you begin 2013, rest in the grace of Jesus assured of His mercy and your salvation.

Go forth and sing in the choir out of gratitude for what He has done, but do not fret if you miss a practice or are unable to sing for a Sunday service.

Help out with the altar guild to share the blessing of God’s grace with others, but do not allow yourself to grow weary with the work.

Give to the poor out of thankfulness for the bounty God has bestowed on you, but do not give out of mere obligation and with resentment.

Attend church or mass because you desire to fellowship with God and other believers, and to worship the Lord in community, but not because you think you will lose points with God if you do not.

Perform good deeds as the Spirit leads, in the power of Jesus, so that God might be glorified, but don’t be deceived into thinking such deeds are necessary for your salvation.

For centuries Satan has tried to strip the children of God of the peace of knowing His love and grace. The Accuser engenders fear and doubt in the minds of believers, trying to deceive us into believing that God hates us and requires us to pay for our own sins and earn our own salvation.

But God’s Word is clear on this point: It is finished. The atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ is the embodiment of God’s love and mercy; His grace is sufficient to cover every sin and grant us eternal life with Him. Nothing Satan says or does can change this truth.

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8.

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Joseph: The Forgotten Character

When we think of the Christmas story, it seems we tend to forget the role that Joseph played in this historical event. We rightly focus on the baby Jesus, or often on His mother Mary. To be sure, Joseph is there in every nativity scene, but do we really comprehend the importance he plays in this story and what we can learn from him?

Mary knew beyond any doubt that she was a virgin and when she found herself pregnant she had no trouble believing that what the angel had told her was true. But Joseph had no such assurance. He had been told in a dream by an angel that Mary’s baby was the Son of God, but surely he had doubts. For Joseph to believe, he had to have faith and to trust God’s messenger as well as his new bride.

This afternoon I’ve been listening to Christmas music and wrapping presents to the smell of a rib roast in the slow cooker for Christmas Eve dinner. The song Joseph’s Lullaby by MercyMe came on and I found myself pondering the thought of Joseph accepting Jesus as the Son of God while at the same time treating the Holy Child as his own son.

Paul wrote to the Ephesian church, “In love he [God] predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.” Ephesians 1:5-6 (NIV). In the same way, Joseph adopted the baby Jesus as his son, even though he knew the child was not his. In faith, Joseph raised this miracle Child as his own, teaching Him the craft of a carpenter and the love of God. In all that Joseph did as the earthly father of Jesus, he glorified God the Father.

So this Christmas, let’s remember Joseph, the forgotten character of the story at the center of all history.

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Pray for Knowledge of Christ’s Love

Earlier this week during my morning prayer time I read a wonderful passage from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. This passage is one of my favorite prayers in the Bible:

For this reason I kneel before the Father,from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:14-19 (NIV).

At the time I thought about how this passage would be a great basis for a blog post reminding people how much God loves them, but the week got away from me and the post didn’t get written. Today, following the tragedies in Portland, Oregon (so close to my home) and in Connecticut, I realize that God’s timing is perfect because this passage holds the answer so many are looking for as to how someone could do such an evil thing as shoot strangers in a mall or kindergarteners in a school, not to mention their own mother.

Throughout scripture we are told that the heart of mankind is evil. The reason we are told God flooded the earth and saved only Noah and his family is because “The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.” Genesis 6:5 (NIV). Of one of the kings of Israel it is said, “He did evil because he had not set his heart on seeking the Lord.” 2 Chronicles 12:14 (NIV). As Jesus explained to His disciples, “For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23 All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean.’” Mark 7:22-23 (NIV).

But the heart that grasps the love of Christ is filled with the fullness of God. In such a heart evil thoughts are driven out by love and compassion. In this world we live in, and especially in the United States, people think they can live without God. Many don’t teach their children that God loves them, perhaps because they don’t know this wonderful truth themselves, and then we are surprised when children grow up to be murderers.

The problem that leads to such tragedies as we have seen this week is not that people have guns, it is that they do not have Christ. I realize that there are plenty of people who do not believe in or know God who do not go out and murder others, but I also know that those who commit such unspeakable acts cannot possibly know God’s love for them.

The love of Christ is kind of like a vaccine. We give vaccines to all our kids to prevent them from getting terrible diseases, even though not every kid would get the disease if the vaccine was not given. We need to vaccinate all our children against the evil that has the potential to take over their hearts, and that vaccine is the heart knowledge of the love of God that surpasses human knowledge.

As Christians, we need to pray not only for those who have suffered a great tragedy, but we need to pray every day—as Paul did for the Ephesians—for our children to have the power “to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.”

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Election Rhetoric Is Ungodly

The election is finally over! My hope is now that the insulting posts on Facebook will cease just as the political ads will. I don’t think I posted a single political cartoon or joke on Facebook during this election season, and I was very disheartened by how many of my friends did, on both sides of the aisle. Here are just two representative posts shared by some of my Facebook friends yesterday:

As I was reading my Bible this morning before my prayer time, I came across this verse in which Paul is instructing the church in Ephesus how they should conduct themselves: “Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.” Ephesians 5:4 (NIV). Unfortunately, this has not been heeded this election season (and it’s been a long season!).

The type of coarse joking and foolish talk represented by these two posts is not Godly and it is not helpful for those who post or those who read. This type of rhetoric serves only to divide and belittle. It reduces serious issues to often inaccurate sound bites. Republicans, as a general rule, are not in favor of rape because they are pro-life; Democrats, as a general rule, are not unemployed freeloaders. But those are the messages these posts send and I personally find them incredibly insulting.

My hope and prayer is that going forward we can set aside the extreme rhetoric and work towards the common goals of freedom and justice that this country was founded on. My saving grace is that in spite of it all Jesus is still my King.

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Four Truths to Remember

Today in church our Youth Minister Colie gave the sermon. We are still learning about our Christian Toolbox, and today’s tool was “service.” But I am not going to write about what she told us about service right now. (There will no doubt be more blog posts on this wonderful tool throughout this week.)

Instead, I want to share four truths that Colie shared with us at the beginning of her message. They are four truths that she heard a Christian speaker share at a conference earlier last week. But these four truths weren’t new with that speaker either. Their source is God and they are told to us in His Word.

  1. You are loved.

    But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions. Ephesians 2:4-5a (NIV). 

  2. You matter.

    “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV).

  3. You are chosen.

    But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9 (NIV).

  4. You are not alone.

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. John 14:16-18 (NIV).

So the next time you think no one loves you because you haven’t done anything to earn the love of others, refute that lie with the truth that God loves you. The next time you think you are to insignificant to matter to anyone, refute that lie with the truth that God has a plan for your life that is perfectly suited to how He made you. The next time you are feeling lost and alone, remember that you have been chosen by God to belong to Him and that He has sent His Holy Spirit to dwell in you so that you will never be alone.

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Grace Is Unfair

This morning in church we learned about the next – and in my opinion most important – tool in our Christian toolbox. Grace. It is the one thing that sets the Christian faith apart from every other religion in the world.

Pr. Dave told a story of a high school youth pastor who took his group of Christian teens on a field trip to discover what made Christianity unique. They first went to a mosque and spoke to an Imam about Islam. When asked to share what the core of the Islamic faith was, the Imam answered, “We believe above all else that God is just and that people will get what they deserve.”

Next, the youth pastor took the teens to a synagogue to speak to a rabbi about Judaism. When asked the share what the core of the Jewish faith was, the rabbi answered, “We believe above all else that God is just and that people will get what they deserve.” In Jesus day, the Pharisees would have said the same thing.

In many churches that profess Christ today, you will hear the same message on a Sunday morning. You will hear that God is just and that we all receive what we deserve. But that is not the Gospel and it is not what Jesus taught. Jesus taught grace.

The Gospel reading for this morning was Matthew 20:1-16, the parable of the workers in the vineyard. This has always been one of my favorite parables. It has a great practical application about being content with what we have been given and not comparing ourselves to others. But it also contains within it the lesson of grace. In this parable, each worker receives the same pay at the end of the day, whether he worked all 12 hours of the day or only the last hour. It did not matter to the landowner that the workers who came later deserved less or that those who had been there all day deserved more. Each worker was blessed in the same way because of the generosity and grace of the landowner.

In the same way, God gives the gift of grace to all who simply come to Him and accept the gift. None of us deserve this gift, but God is generous and gracious and so He gives.

In the parable, the workers who had been there all day thought it was unfair that the latecomers got the same pay. I think sometimes those who have followed the rules as best they could all their lives, who have been brought up in a Christian home and always known the Lord, can feel like it is unfair for those who come to faith late to receive the same exact gift of grace from God. And they are probably right – it’s not fair.

That is the truly wonderful thing about God’s grace – it is unfair. We do not get what we deserve. Even though we all at some point push God away and choose our own way, He is merciful and gracious, and He loves us anyway. We all deserve to be left to our own devices, eternally separated from our Holy God.

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:4-9 (NIV).

I don’t know about you, but I am truly thankful that grace is unfair. I pray that the knowledge of God’s immeasurable grace will lead me to be gracious to others and to share God’s grace with them.

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Works of Service Don’t Earn Salvation

It is clear in scripture that God has work for His people to do, but what is the purpose of those works and what do they accomplish? In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul explains the purpose of works:

It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Ephesians 4:11-13 (NIV).

The works that God has given us to do are not for the purpose of earning our salvation. Paul is talking here to those who are already God’s people by faith in Christ before the works are appointed. But the work He has appointed for us – that the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers are called to prepare us for – are for the purpose of building each other up, for strengthening the faith and knowledge of His people so that they might know the fullness of the blessing of salvation and eternal life. The works of service that God has set before us are for the purpose of helping His people to trust in Him each day and to bring us together in unity.

There is nothing in the whole of scripture that suggests that our works of service will gain for us salvation or peace.

I am thinking today about Martin Luther because tomorrow is Reformation Sunday. Martin Luther was a monk who is considered the father of the Reformation. Of his years as a monk he remarked, “If anyone could have gained heaven as a monk, then I would indeed have been among them.” Yet throughout this time he felt no peace with God and believed that he was far from Christ. He lived in constant fear of God and hell, wondering if he had done enough, if he had been good enough, to earn salvation. He tried, in vain, to find an assurance of salvation in his works of service.

His superior at the monastery ordered that he pursue an academic career and so Luther began his academic career, as a student and then professor, at the University of Wittenberg. It was during this time that he studied the book of Romans and came to understand the doctrine of justification by faith. It was only then that he found peace with God as he understood the assurance of salvation through the atoning sacrifice of Christ. He came to the point where he could honestly say, “Is it not wonderful news to believe that salvation lies outside ourselves?” And it is wonderful news, indeed, that we need not earn our own salvation.

That is what the Reformation was all about. The Church had become corrupt. The common people were denied the ability to read the scriptures for themselves and were taught that they would pay for their sins in purgatory when they died. But they could avoid such penalty by paying indulgences to the Church, in essence buying their own salvation. Luther opposed this practice and fought for the Gospel when he hung his Ninety-Five Theses on the door of the Wittenberg Church, calling for a public debate of his arguments made in that document.

Because of his actions, and his refusal to recant what he believed the scriptures clearly taught, Luther was eventually excommunicated from the Catholic Church. But he had found peace with God, knowing that he was justified by his faith alone and so his excommunication did not matter to him. He certainly did work as a pastor and teacher so that the body of Christ might be built up and God’s people might attain the full measure of the fullness of Christ, but he never again worked to earn his salvation. He knew that it was a gift of God.

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Biblical Prayers – My Tuesday Three

Today I want to just share three of my favorite prayers from scripture. No commentary, just the scripture, in part because I just don’t have the time or energy for commentary and in part because they have the power to stand alone and require no explanation from me.

First I want to share Paul’s prayer in his letter to the church in Ephesus:

Thanksgiving and Prayer

15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20 which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. Ephesians 1:15-23 (NIV).

Second I want to share Jesus’ prayer for me and you as recorded in John:

Jesus Prays for All Believers

    20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: 23 I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

   24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

   25 “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”

Third I want to share Jesus’ teaching as recorded in Luke, which is the basis of the Lord’s Prayer that we say in church every Sunday:

Jesus’ Teaching on Prayer

1 One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”

2 He said to them, “When you pray, say:

   “‘Father,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.
3 Give us each day our daily bread.
4 Forgive us our sins,
   for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.
And lead us not into temptation.

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A Lesson from King Josiah: Older and Wiser

I’m getting back to my Bible-in-a-year schedule. The date on my schedule says it’s October, but I’m pretty sure it’s May. It is May, isn’t it? Anyway, I took a break from this schedule for Lent and followed the Wordstrong reading schedule my whole church was following. But I really have no excuse for being so far behind, except that I get busy and read other things, and well, the next section on the schedule was 2 Chronicles 34 – 35.

I’m not a huge fan of 1 and 2 Chronicles because it seems so repetitive. These two books basically “chronicle” (hence the name) the reigns of the various kings of Israel and Judah. Each chapter starts so-and-so, son of so-and-so, became king of Judah. He was x years old. He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord or he did what was pleasing in the sight of the Lord. There seem to be a lot more of the former, but I’ve never actually taken a tally to confirm that.

As I looked at my schedule last week, I thought to myself (and actually said out loud to my husband) “I don’t want to read 2 Chronicles.” And so I read the New Testament passages for that day, which were from Acts. But when I was done with the chapters from Acts I still wasn’t sleepy so I decided I would go ahead and get the 2 Chronicles chapters over with.

Of course, this is where God spoke to me and showed me that there is more to 2 Chronicles than meets the eye.

Chapters 34 and 35 are the story of King Josiah who “did what was right in the eyes of the Lord.” He became king at the age of eight and right from the beginning he followed in the footsteps of his ancestor King David. When he was older, the scroll of the law was found in the temple. As the scroll was read, Josiah realized the Israelites had not been following it, and “he tore his robes.” This means that he humbled himself before God because he was upset that the Israelites had not been following God’s law. He resolved to change that and to follow God in the way he now knew he should.

What struck me about this is that as he got older, Josiah became wiser. For many years he had done his best to follow God and was even credited with doing what was pleasing to God. But when he learned more about God from the scroll that was found, he used this new information to change his actions and his attitude towards God.

I have been a Christian for quite a few years and, since the time I was baptized and became a believer, I have tried my best to do what was right in God’s eyes. With the information and wisdom that I had at each stage of my life, I followed God. But I am older now and have read much more of His Word; that should mean I am wiser. What was pleasing to God when I was 25 would probably not be pleasing to Him now that I am in my 40′s. I must continually grow in my understanding of His Word and change my actions and attitude towards God when I learn new information that reveals that the actions of my youth were not in accordance with God’s will.

Conversely, when I see young Christians acting in a way or displaying an attitude that I know from God’s Word is not pleasing to Him, I need to be understanding. I need to realize that they are (hopefully) acting in accordance with the knowledge and wisdom that they now have. As they seek to know Him better, their actions and attitudes will change and they will become more like Christ. With gentleness, it is my duty to guide them when led by the Spirit to do so, and to point them to the Word of God and what He has to say on the issue before us. As one who has “heard the words of the Law” as King Josiah did, and grown in my understanding of Christ’s grace and mercy, it is my duty to pass that on to others who are less mature in their faith. As Paul wrote to the Ephesians:

So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. Ephesians 4:11-16 (NIV).

King Josiah shared the words of the scroll that had been found with all of the people (see 2 Chronicles 34:29-31) so that they might be built up as a nation and recommit themselves to the Lord. He was a good king, and his story is worth reading and learning from. In the same way, those who know God’s Word should share it with others so that we might be built up as the body of Christ.

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The Bride of Christ Made New

In church on Sunday our pastor, Pr. Gary Englert, told a story that really touched me and got me thinking. I decided I wanted to post both my retelling of the story and the thoughts I had on it. After church I asked if he had come up with the story on his own or had borrowed it. He said he had first read it in Vital holiness: A theology of Christian experience : interpreting the historic Wesleyan message by Delbert R. Rose. I have not read this book, but it sounds like a good one. Pr. Gary said that Rose was able to tell this whole story in a single paragraph, but I like his somewhat embellished version better.

The story is of a great King who ruled over a large and wonderful kingdom. He was a good and fair King, loved, feared, and respected by his subjects throughout the kingdom. The King had a Son, who was also loved by the people. He was a good, courageous, and loyal Prince.

In one of the many cities of this kingdom was a woman who lived in the gutter. She had lived in the gutter for a very long time, and had not bathed or changed her clothes in what seemed like forever. Most people walked by her without a second glance.

One day, the Prince went traveling throughout the kingdom. He took a large entourage with him of servants, knights, and people of his court. They traveled to the city where the woman lived in the gutter. As they proceeded down the very street where the woman lay in the gutter, and came to the place where she was, the Prince ordered that the entourage stop. He got out of his carriage, approached the woman in the gutter, and kneeled before her. He spoke gently to her, “I love you and I want you to come with me and be my wife.” The woman was surprised by the Prince’s offer, but accepted.

The Prince then told the woman that he was sending her back to the palace with his servants and attendants, and that they would prepare her for their wedding day. Over the next few months, the kingdom, and especially the palace, was busy with the wedding preparations. The day of the wedding arrived, but the woman was not there. The Prince ordered that a search be made for her and that she be brought to the wedding banquet.

After much searching, the woman was finally found in her room. The servants and attendants were all around her with soaps, perfumes, and her beautiful wedding dress. But the woman sat upon the bed still dressed in the clothes she had been wearing when the Prince found her in the gutter, with the filth and smell of the gutter still upon her. When asked why she was still dressed that way, why she had not allowed the Prince’s attendants to clean her up and dress her in the finest white wedding dress, she replied, “He loved me this way when he found me, and he will love me this way when we are wed.”

In case you haven’t guessed, the King is our heavenly Father, the Prince is our Savior Jesus, and the woman in the gutter is you and me. In his letter to the church in Ephesus, Paul clearly states our position in the gutter before we knew Christ:

Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else. Ephesians 2:1-3 (NLT).

But even though we lived in sin, Jesus came to us, humbled Himself before us on the cross, and professed His great love. He called us to Himself, to be His beautiful bride. Although He loved us when we were in the gutter, He wants so much more for us. He wants to makes us a new creation clothed in the most beautiful white robes of salvation. We are saved when we first accept His invitation, and then begins the process by which He changes us into His likeness, washing away each speck of dirt and sin with His precious blood. He is preparing us for the wedding day when we will be joined forever with Him in His heavenly kingdom.

As I listened to Pr. Gary’s message and this story, a few questions came to mind. Have you accepted Jesus’ astounding offer of salvation? Do you realize how amazing it is that He would make such an offer? Can you imagine an earthly Prince seeking the hand of a woman living in the gutter?

If you have accepted the offer, have you allowed His attendants, His Holy Spirit, to make you a new and beautiful creation in preparation for your wedding as the bride of Christ? Or are you sitting on the bed in your new-found room, still wearing  your gutter clothes, insisting that if He loved you this way at first He will love you this way always? Have you allowed Him to change you for the better, or are you sure you are just fine the way you are? Are you allowing Him to wash you clean with His precious blood, or are you clinging to your sins?

So often we want to hold onto the gutter clothes we have become accustomed to for so long, not comprehending that the wedding clothes provided by the Prince of Peace are so much better. But if we want to enjoy the eternal wedding feast, we must allow Christ to clothe us in His righteousness. We must allow Him to change us. No one who is not properly dressed will be allowed to remain at the wedding banquet. In the parable of the great feast, Jesus said:

“But when the king came in to meet the guests, he noticed a man who wasn’t wearing the proper clothes for a wedding. ‘Friend,’ he asked, ‘how is it that you are here without wedding clothes?’ But the man had no reply. Then the king said to his aides, ‘Bind his hands and feet and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

“For many are called, but few are chosen.” Matthew 22:11-14 (NLT).

So are you allowing Christ to prepare you for the feast of an eternal lifetime? Or are you clinging to who you were when He found you, hoping He will let you in anyway?

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