25 July 2019

Full of Grace

Grace is the brilliant theme of the gospel message. We receive God’s amazing blessings from His gracious, merciful and generous heart, and not because we deserve them.

Mary was bewildered when the angel greeted her with the words, “Hail, favoured one! The Lord is with you” (Luke 1:28). Why was she so favoured? What was the special grace that God was pleased to give her? Gabriel explained that she found grace before God because she was to give birth to a child, who is God’s Son, the Messiah.

We encounter the same word translated “favoured” only once more in the New Testament (Ephesians 1:6). The Apostle Paul reminds believers how God has blessed them with every spiritual blessing in Christ, not least that God the Father had adopted them into His family through Jesus Christ. The ultimate purpose of God’s salvation is “to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved” (1:6). God imparts grace on unworthy sinners, adopting them as His children, and this favour is given in Christ. Consequently they never cease praising the Father for showing them such goodness in Christ.

Indeed, every grace comes to us through the sole Mediator, Jesus Christ, the Beloved Son of God. It was for this very purpose that He was sent into the world and was born of Mary, the virgin of Nazareth. “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” With His heart overflowing with grace, He pours it abundantly on God’s redeemed children. “From His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace” (John 1:14,16).

So whether it is the unique blessing bestowed upon Mary, that she became the mother of Jesus, the Son of God, or whether it is the infinitely greater blessing that Mary and all Christians enjoy, the gift of eternal life, all graces come from God through the One who is full of grace, Jesus.

May all his people sing with everlasting joy, “Praise be to God the Father for his glorious grace which he freely bestowed on us in His Beloved!”

6 June 2019

The Last Prayer

Two men had indulged in evil all their lives. They had now come to the end. In a short time, they will appear before their Creator for judgement.

This was their last opportunity to speak to Jesus and request whatever they desired.

The first man was not sorry for the evil deeds he had done. He had no interest in Jesus; he only asked him to spare him from death. He desired to return to his former manner of life and continue to enjoy the pleasures this world can offer.

Jesus did not answer him. The man died and he was eternally lost.

The heart of the other man, conscious of his guilt, was gripped by the fear of God. He believed that Jesus is the promised Messiah, the King who will reign forever. He wanted to be with Jesus even though the people nearby were insulting and ridiculing him. So he requested Jesus to remember him.

Jesus granted his request. Today he is enjoying the King in paradise.

This is the story of the two criminals who were crucified along with Jesus. This is also my story and your story. For we too have sinned against the Almighty; we have broken God's law; we are criminals in His eyes. We too stand on the brink of eternity to face judgement. We too must choose between sin and repentance, and between this present evil world and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Friend, what is your choice? What is your heart's desire? What will you ask Jesus?

28 May 2019

The Apostles' Power to Forgive

The Lord Jesus Christ obtained forgiveness for sinners by his death on the cross. How would Jesus' sacrifice be of any benefit to us if the story of Calvary remains unknown?

When the risen Saviour appeared to his disciples after his resurrection, he entrusted them with an important mission. He commissioned them to make known God’s mercy to the world, by the power of the Holy Spirit. This is what he told them: “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld” (John 20:23).

The Lord, who alone has the prerogative to forgive sins, gave to the disciples the responsibility to forgive! How was this to be done? What was the role of the apostles and disciples in this regard? The correct answer is not to be found in human opinion or church tradition, but in the very Word of God. The same Scripture which teaches that the disciples forgave sins also informs us how this was actually done. It leaves nothing open or to our imagination.

1 May 2019

The Holy Trinity

The word ‘Trinity’ is derived from two Latin words, tres, three, and unitas, one). It is used in Christian theology to express essential biblical truths about God, namely: (1) the unity of God; (2) the Father is God, the Son is God and the Holy Spirit is God; (3) the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are distinct Persons.

One God

Our belief in one God is fundamental; Christianity is a monotheistic religion. The Old and New Testaments both assert the unity of God: ‘Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one!’ (Deut 6:4); ‘I am the First and I am the Last; besides Me there is no God’ (Isa 44:6); ‘There is one God, and there is no other but He’ (Mark 12:32).