Today’s Scrip-Bit 2 May 2021 Ephesians 2:8.

Ephesians 2:8.     ​For by grace are ye saved (you have been saved) through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.

Another Sunday morning friends, another grateful day of praise and worship! Oh, how I wish though, that we could say like Bruh David did of his companions on that fateful Sabbath day: ‘I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.’ (Ps. 122:1) But right now, that’s only wishful thinking for most of us, what with the serious state of the Corona virus lockdown, and the many restrictions placed on actual sanctuary gathering. 

However, because we are children of the Most High God Jehovah, we will not be defeated. We might be constrained or restrained, but we will never stop worshipping our God on His day, especially with all the modern technological inventions that allow it to be done virtually. Yes, this way does detract some from the spontaneity and togetherness that comes from gathering in person, but in these troubled and perilous times, any kind of worship is better than no worship at all. And it’s been going on for so long now that most of us have become accustomed to it. 

So enough with the talk, let’s get to some praise and worship, singing the well-known and much LOVED, hymn, written by John Newton, the ex-slave trader back in the last half of the 18thcentury. We all know it as ‘Amazing Grace.’ And according to the GodTube website: This isn’t a song of theology – it’s John Newton’s own heartfelt expression of gratitude to God, who helped him turn from his profane and wicked life and eventually fight against the ills he practiced.’ Therefore, with our own sincere and heartfelt gratitude, let’s sing it out now nuh, letting all of heaven and earth know just how much we truly value God’s grace in our lives. 

So, in soulful harmony, let’s raise our heads, hearts and voices to the sky. ‘Amazing grace! How sweet the sound That saved a wretch like me! I once was lost, but now am found; Was blind, but now I see. Through many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come; ’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, And grace will lead me home. The Lord has promised good to me, His Word my hope secures; He will my Shield and Portion be, As long as life endures. Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail, And mortal life shall cease, I shall possess, within the veil, A life of joy and peace. 

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow, The sun forbear to shine; But God, who called me here below, Will be forever mine. When we’ve been there ten thousand years, Bright shining as the sun, We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise, Than when we’d first begun. Oh yes, When we’ve been there ten thousand years, Bright shining as the sun, We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise, Than when we’d first begun.’ 

Oh, what magnificent, Bible based sentiments my people! And did we ever express them well! (smile) But seriously though my brethren, who would have thought that an ex-slaver could write such exquisite words and declare such heartfelt emotion. Only through the grace of God, you say! I guess so. And the story goes that it was during a serious storm on the ocean, when their ship did not look like it would survive the relentless pounding, that Newton’s mind turned back to the God his mother had taught him about at an early age. 

And I can tell you about a personal experience on Lake Ontario, when caught in a storm late at night, in the middle of the lake in a small boat, and I saw drunken men pray like mad. I wasn’t drunk, but believe me, I prayed too! That’s also the first time I truly understood what the words ‘shivering of the timbers’ meant.’ (smile) I can laugh about it now, but then it was really scary. So Newton’s reaction is not surprising, because it’s ofttimes during serious storms in our lives, literal or figurative, that our thoughts turn to Jesus, and we realize that He is our only answer for calming the storms. 

And it’s said that Newton’s behavior was so terrible that it even shocked the sailors themselves, who already had a bad reputation for profanity and licentiousness. And it does say a lot about the power of God’s grace, if it could save such a disgusting heretic. As one commentary puts it: ‘Only God’s amazing grace could and would take a rude, profane slave-trading sailor and transform him into a child of God. Newton never ceased to stand in awe of God’s work in his life.’ And so he should! 

It’s not surprising then, that Newton described God’s grace as ‘amazing’ and the sound sweet to his ears in saving a wretch like him. Oh, the power of God’s grace! He was once lost, but God’s grace found him at his lowest ebb, where God usually finds us, and also opened his blinded eyes to see the value of salvation. That’s why Bruh Paul emphasizes to the Ephesians, and also to us, the great importance of God’s grace in our salvation. ‘For by grace are ye saved (you have been saved) through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast.’ (Eph. 2:8-9) 

And you ask, what is this grace and faith that we’re talking about? Well, grace is basically ‘the expression of God’s goodness towards the undeserving.’ It’s the unmerited favour of God; meaning we don’t deserve it, but He’s so good to us, He gives it to us anyway. And faith is the way we gain God’s grace to be saved. That’s by believing in Christ Jesus, believing that God sent Christ to earth to die on the cross at Calvary to pay for or atone for our sins. 

So when we have that faith in Christ, then we can be saved by God’s good gift of grace. And Bruh Paul made sure that we knew salvation could not be obtained by works, but only by grace, God’s gift, otherwise men would be boasting like crazy, not that that has stopped them down through the years. (smile) 

Now, let’s end with this last tidbit on Newton’s conversion. It’s reputed that he found a New Testament and while reading it, Luke 11:13, seemed to assure him that God might still hear him. That verse contains these famous words of Jesus’ teaching on prayer. ‘If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?’ That’s a very good question friends. And obviously John Newton took it to heart, and asked God for the Holy Spirit, and it was given to Him. 

So today, as we give God the glory He so richly deserves, it would be a good idea to sit and ponder how we each came to faith in Christ and thus received the free gift of salvation, through God’s amazing grace. Much LOVE!

Salvation’s source is grace… the means of salvation is faith… (Bibleref.com) 

Hear our podcast at https://open.spotify.com/show/3aVfqIC1CqwGybISs9dZJ8         

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