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) 

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 23 January 2016 John 3:16

John 3:16.   For God so LOVED the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

And the people sang: ‘Saturday, oh Saturday, what do you have in store for us today?’ 

And the Lord replied likewise in song: ‘For my beloved followers, today I have brand new blessings, brand new mercies, etched with forgiveness, grace, care, compassion and LOVING-kindness. That’s my constant menu, except they are freshly prepared each and every day. I don’t do leftovers for those I sincerely care about. 

And I have the best server in the world, My Holy Spirit. He will lead and guide you through the entire day, giving you good advice as to what to do and say. 

So if you like what I’m offering, come on down and sample my wares. I guarantee that once you’ve sampled them, you’ll never go away; you’ll just keep running back for more. So see you soon. All my LOVE! Your heavenly Father.’ 

And that’s exactly how it is friends! Our magnificent God prepares His menu of delights afresh for us every day. As he says, He doesn’t do leftovers. But the only way you can truly sample His wares is by surrendering your life and soul to Him, so that He can set up His Holy Spirit in your soul. 

The Holy Spirit is the server, so if you don’t surrender and allow Him in, then you won’t be able to sample the menu. No rocket science my brethren, just simple logic! 

And all of that is borne out in the marvelous words of our Bit. For God so LOVED the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’ 

Oh precious people, how can we doubt or disbelieve those life-changing words eh? It’s been historically proven that Jesus did die on the cross at Calvary, and if He was indeed whom He claimed to be, and there’s no reason to doubt it, then that’s the greatest gift that has ever been given to mankind! Glory Hallelujah! 

We should all be shouting and praising and thanking God for His wonderful gift of salvation through Christ, and be ever so willing to live under His easy yoke and light burden. 

But mankind is a different animal, possessing free choice, foolish pride and a sinful nature, so he doesn’t always make the wisest decisions. And even when you read and spell for him, like I’m trying to do here, he still insists on going his own way. 

However, let’s turn to the scriptures for more facts on the subject. Yesterday we were looking at Bruh Paul’s message to the Ephesians, concerning faith and grace and how they work in a believer’s life. We ended up where he declared that God’s purpose was to demonstrate His goodness to them through Jesus Christ so they could have a better understanding of Him. (2:7) 

Today, we’ll continue from there. ‘For by grace are ye (you have been) saved through faith; and not that of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship (creation), created in Christ Jesus unto (for) good works, which God hath before ordained (prepared) that we should walk in them.’ (Eph.2:8-10) 

Now friends, those are three of the most important verses concerning our faith! The first thing we need to realize is that we are saved by God’s grace, His unmerited favour, and nothing that we have done ourselves. 

The scholars explain that verse thus. ‘2:8. For gives the reason for this future demonstration of divine grace. It is because man owes his salvation to this grace or undeserved divine favour.’  Then they go into all sorts of explanations about the different tenses and genders of the Greek words which I will leave out. 

The long and short of the story though is: This means that no part of salvation is “of yourselves” or due to what we do – the whole of salvation is the gift of God. Man is saved “by grace” that is, by the kindness of God in having Jesus die for our sins. But this grace is appropriated through faith, that is, man believes what God has done for him and relies upon Christ’s atonement to blot out his sins and bring him into a proper relationship with God.’ 

In other words, NONE of our good works can get us into heaven. We can ONLY get there by accepting God’s LOVING-kindness and having faith, believing In Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour.  Unfortunately though, a lot of people still misguidedly believe that good works will get them into heaven. I sincerely hope that they smarten up before it’s too late. 

As for ‘2:9. The reason in part, that salvation is not achieved by good works is to prevent men from bragging of having earned a place in heaven by themselves.’ 

Yuh think the Lord stupid? He made man, and He knows what we are capable of. Can you imagine the bragging and boasting that would have gone on if we could get to heaven through good works! 

‘2:10. For verifies the assertion of man’s good works having no part in obtaining salvation. Workmanship refers not to our original or physical birth, but to our spiritual birth: what we are spiritually in the good sense is due to God, not ourselves. Created in Christ Jesus unto good works means “having been (morally) recreated by Christ Jesus for good works;” that is, Jesus remade our spiritual lives so that we could then do good works. 

The apostle’s thinking is this: since the Christian has been given spiritual life for the purpose of doing good works, there could have been no good works by him prior to conversion that would merit salvation. Good works follow – do not precede – salvation.’ 

There you have it friends, Bruh Paul’s treatise on grace and faith. I know I’ve shared most of this stuff before, but it’s such an important part of our belief system that we can never hear it enough. 

So today let’s spend some time pondering on the meat and potatoes set before us nuh. It’s time we stop drinking milk and eating baby food and gain some maturity, moving on to a higher understanding of God’s Word (smile). Much LOVE!

…we can only grow in Christ…by gaining a deeper understanding of His Word…