The Francis Asbury Society

FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 8/29

Posted on | August 29, 2015 | Comments Off on FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 8/29

AUGUST 29
scripture reading: Romans 5:1–5

The Riches of Grace

The immeasurable riches of his grace . . . (Ephesians 2:7)

A rather poor family saved money for years so they could one day take their dream vacation: an ocean cruise. When they finally bought the tickets, there was little money left over for extras. Seeking to economize, the father brought along a large supply of cheese and crackers to put in their suitcases. He felt that if they ate snacks in their cabin rather than eating in the fancy dining room, they could save money. So during the cruise, while the rest of the passengers were eating three meals a day at the all-you-can-eat buffet, the family was down in their cabin munching on cheese and crackers.

On the last day of the cruise, the father decided to splurge. “Come on, kids. Let’s eat our final meal tonight in the dining room upstairs!” Arriving at the door, the steward greeted them warmly, asking where they had been all week. Sheepishly, the father explained how they had been eating cheese and crackers. “Oh, my!” said the steward. “Didn’t you know that your meals were all included in the price of your tickets?”

This story illustrates how many Christians live. We nibble on cheese and crackers when we could be dining like kings. The price has already been paid in full. Now that we are on board the good ship of salvation, we are invited to eat freely from the lavish feast that has been prepared for us. Paul enumerates some of these riches of grace in Romans 5:1–5. Since we have been justified by faith Paul says, these blessings belong to us:

,. We have peace with God (v. 1). Because of the finished work of Christ on the cross, the hostility between God and man is ended. The rebellion is over. My will is to do his will. Jesus is Lord. Therefore, deep in my heart there is peace, wonderful peace.

,. We have access to grace (v. 2). Because we have been justified by faith, we have the right to enter the very throne room of God! The curtain in the Temple has been torn in two. Therefore we have confidence to draw near to the throne of grace and find help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16).

,. We have hope (v. 2). The Christian’s hope is not a vague wish that things will get better, but a sure and certain confidence that Jesus is coming again, and the kingdoms of this world will become his Kingdom, and he will reign forever (Revelation 11:15).

,. We have joy, even in our sufferings (vv. 3–5). The finished work of Christ means that we can “rejoice in our sufferings.” But how is this possible? Are Christians sadistic? No! We can rejoice because the cross helps us to understand that suffering produces endurance, endurance produces character, character produces hope, and this hope will never disappoint us!

,. We have God’s love poured into our hearts (v. 5). Paul says that the ultimate blessing of grace is love. Not our love for God, but God’s love for us! It is this infusion of divine love “poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit” (v. 5) that is the supreme manifestation of the riches of grace. His love in me means that I can love others even as he has loved me.

Are you nibbling on cheese and crackers when you could be sitting at the King’s table feasting on the riches of grace? The ticket is already paid for, so enjoy the meal!

Saint Augustine says, “God gives where he finds empty hands.” A man who hands are full of parcels can’t receive a gift.
—C. S. Lewis

point to ponder • How are those cheese and crackers?

prayer focus • Thank God for the ultimate blessings of his grace, for his divine love that is poured into us which gives us the ability to love others as he has loved us.

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