Monday, September 24, 2001
Our neighbor Dan is a walking miracle. Last year he was in a terrible automobile accident that many would say should have killed him. He was evacuated from the crash site by a helicopter, actually with multiple injuries, including his back being broken in two places. But God wasn't finished with Dan yet. He miraculously spared his life - and miraculously delivered Dan from the paralysis that his injuries should have given him. And through it all, Dan surrendered his life to Jesus Christ. What a testimony Dan has! Now, I've never had a serious injury in my life - I've never been in a hospital facing possible death or paralysis. Now look at what God healed Dan from! So my story is nowhere near as dramatic as Dan's. But that's OK. I'm excited about how God put Dan back together - but I'm glad I didn't have to be put back together!
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A WORD WITH YOUtoday about "The Really Amazing Grace."
You may know someone who has a really dramatic testimony of how God put the broken pieces of their life back together. You've heard the stories of the people Jesus saved from the bondage of drugs or alcohol or crime or sexual sin. And maybe in the back of your mind you've said to yourself, "You know, compared to them, my testimony is boring. Sure, I'm a sinner and I needed to invite Christ to be my Savior. But there wasn't too much to save me from - I never did anything that bad."
I've even had people confide to me a feeling I would call testimony envy - the sense that I almost got cheated because I didn't have a lot of really sinful sin to be saved from. Well, maybe "amazing grace" doesn't seem all that amazing to you because you weren't much of a "wretch." Well, His grace is just as amazing for you - and in some ways more amazing - as it is for the person who was dramatically lost and dramatically found.
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from 2 Timothy 1:4-5 and then chapter 3:15. Paul, who was saved from being the chief persecutor of Christians, writes to his son in the faith Timothy. "I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy. I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also." Timothy had grown up with Jesus. Christian Mom, Christian grandma. A good boy. In chapter 3:15, Paul reminds Timothy "how from infancy you have known the Holy Sciptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus."
Timothy knew the Bible for as long as he could remember. But, he too, had to have his own saving transaction with Jesus Christ - his Bible knowledge couldn't give him that relationship - it could only lead him to put his "faith in Christ Jesus." Even though Paul had committed horrendous, well-known sins - and Timothy had always been a good guy - they both were sinners, separated from God , needing to get to the same Cross to be forgiven.
But the grace of God was every bit as amazing in Timothy's life as it was in Paul's. Yes, it takes powerful grace to rescue someone from sin's bondage. But it takes grace at least as powerful to keep a person from ever getting into that bondage! Now Michael is one of our Native American team members - and he'll tell you how Jesus Christ rescued him from a life of drugs and alcohol and gangs and violence. He and I were talking the other day about a young woman who we both know - a young woman who grew up in a Christian home and has never been down any of those roads. She was lamenting her "not having much of a testimony." He told her, "People like you are my heroes - because God kept you from those roads."
My friend Dan has a dramatic testimony of going to the edge of death and paralysis - but I don't wish I had his story to tell. I'm grateful I've never been to that edge. If God has kept you from the scars and wasted years of sin, thank Him for that! Glorify Him for that! Testify about that!
It is amazing grace when God takes a broken life and puts it back together again. It is really amazing grace when God keeps a life from ever getting broken in the first place!