by Susan Sampson

“Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?” (Rom. 2:4).  Do we tend to think lightly of the riches of His kindness to us in Christ?  Thank you, Lord, for reminding me again who I once was and where I once was — without God, without hope, rejected, excluded. and very far off.

Matthew Henry’s words quoted in the recent Who Am I in Christ lecture spoke to my heart: “You should remember what you have been, and compare it with what you now are, in order to humble yourselves and to excite your love and thankfulness to God.” Compare:

Ephesians 2:12 — “remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.”

Ephesians 2:13 — But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”

Jesus brought us near.  Jesus brought us in.  Jesus made us one.

I am reminded of a passage from Lesson Seven of the Who Am I in Christ study, “By Grace You Have Been Saved.”  It says, “All we have and all we have become are all from God!  It is because of God’s amazing grace that we have been saved through faith, which is not a result of anything we have done or anything we would do.  Even our faith is a gift, so none of us can boast that we are somehow more holy, more righteous, or more humble than those without faith.  Out of the treasure of His merciful heart, God gave us faith as a gift.” Amazing grace. “But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace”  (Rom. 11:6).

Jesus did it all, all to Him I owe.  It is because of this mercy and grace we have been shown that we are moved to love the Lord and one another.  But again, apart from the Lord we could not love with a sacrificial love.  We love because He first loved us (I John 4:19).

God is glorified.  He has done it all.  We were far off.  We were His enemies.  He brought us near.  He brought us in.  He made us one.  One new man, one new body, one Spirit in Christ!

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