QUOTES ON GRACE:
Charles Spurgeon was an old Baptist pastor from the 19th Century who earned the nickname “The Prince of Preachers.” He is by far one of my favourite authors and pastors, and in his book All of Grace he wrote: “Because God is gracious, therefore sinful men are forgiven, converted, purified, and saved. It is not because of anything in them or that ever can be in them that they are saved.” Spurgeon had an understanding of the fact that we are sinners and that we have messed up – big time. Romans 3:23 tells us, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” And if you’re honest, you would admit that you have messed up too and missed the mark. But it’s God’s grace – His undeserved favour – that saves us.
One of the most impacting books I have ever read (apart from the Bible), is The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning. If I really enjoy a book, I’ll maybe re-read it a second time, but I’ve probably read Ragamuffin a dozen times. The subtitle for this book is “Embracing the Unconditional Love of God.” In this book, Manning writes: “The Ragamuffin Gospel was written for the bedraggled, beat-up and burnt out…It is for the wobbly and weak-kneed who know they don’t have it altogether and are too proud to accept the handout of amazing grace… It is for the bent and the bruised who feel that their lives are a grave disappointment to God.”
It was in Ragamuffin where I first heard this quote that totally revolutionized my understanding of Christianity: “The church is not a museum for saints, but a hospital for sinners.” (Morton Kelsey). Church is not a place to come and put on our best suits and put on a happy, plastic smile and say, “How are you doing?” “Great, how are you doing?” “Also great! Same as last week.” “You’re always great!” No, that’s not what the church is supposed to be like. Are you sin-sick? Are you burdened by your sins? Are you overwhelmed by the guilt and shame that comes with sin? If you are, then I’ve got good news for you today! This is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Christianity is good news for ragamuffins.
Philip Yancey said, “As I look back on my own pilgrimage, marked by wanderings…I see now what pulled me along was my search for grace. I rejected the church for a time because I found so little grace there. I returned because I found grace nowhere else… Grace comes free of charge to people who do not deserve it and I am one of those people.” (What’s So Amazing About Grace?). Why do we go to church week after week? Is it to hear a great music team or a dynamic preacher? No, it’s because we’re hungry for God’s grace, something that’s real, that can change our hearts. Something that can take us from the pit of despair and depression and bring us into the joy and peace and hope that is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Charles Swindoll wrote, “To show grace is to extend favor or kindness to one who doesn’t deserve it and can never earn it… Grace… is absolutely and totally free. You will never be asked to pay it back. You couldn’t even if you tried… My hope has been to create an appetite for grace that is so strong nothing will restrain us from pursuing the freedom and spontaneity it can bring – a longing so deep that a new spiritual dawn, a “grace awakening,” if you will, cannot help but burst through the wall of legalism.” (The Grace Awakening). That’s my prayer as well as we study this topic of God’s great grace and freedom, that we would encounter His grace and be changed. Amen!
Pastor Chris Jordan