As we face another day, one thing we can count on is this— we will have to deal with some very difficult people. I don’t need to explain that–everyone knows exactly what I mean. As Christians we are commanded to love the unlovely, and that’s not easy. Still we are not exempt from our duty. But how? Perhaps it will help if we remember what we once were.Again and again, Paul reminded his readers of what they were before they were saved. We tend to forget that, don’t we? Yet as sinful as we were, God loved us and Christ died for us. How then can we withhold kindness from others? But for the grace of God we would be the offending party. Sinful people are to be pitied, not hated and despised. Consider this:
“John Newton wrote what is probably the most famous hymn in the world, Amazing Grace. Before his conversation he was a wicked man, making his living as a slave trader—taking people from Africa and selling them into a lifetime of bondage. When Newton was saved, he was completely transformed by God’s grace. But through his later years of serving God as a changed man, he never forgot the kind of man he once had been. Newton wrote, “By nature I was too blind to know Him, too proud to trust Him, too obstinate to serve Him, too base-minded to love Him.”
There is a danger that faces those who have been saved for a number of years. Sometimes we forget how desperately we needed God’s grace. Even those of us who grew up in Christian homes and were saved early in life still had no hope of salvation apart from God’s grace. We should never forget the incredible debt that was paid for our salvation and the free gift that was offered us through no merit or work of our own.
But we also need God’s grace for our daily lives as believers. Just as we could not save ourselves, we cannot live a consecrated Christian life in our own power. The world, the flesh, and the devil work against us constantly. Only the grace of God gives us the strength to be overcomers. The power of grace is something we must never forget.—–