Saturday, 16 April 2011

Finding grace

Before my conversion I was a soul lost, a hardened sinner committed to his own way. It was my delight to be taken captive by the devil at his will, to do the deeds of my hearts desire. A pure unrighteous soul I was, a liar and curser of unrivalled foes. I was the man of men, the leader of the drunkards and the excitements of the festival. I would often see those feeble soul who wasted their Sundays to attend a miserable house and hatred and pity filled my soul. I knew much of the Christian faith and of their judicial God and already considered myself bound for hell. I had made my fate with the devils because I knew that all of my soul was guilty beyond redemption and since I knew thus, I thought why not live my life to the satisfaction of my soul until death releases my eternal spirit. I did all that was in my power to live life to the full but all the while my heart was bare. No satisfaction I gained, but my thirst grew deeper; the piety of Jesus was like a prison to me and the bible whenever read was like the executioners sword. I knew that my state is miserable and if I should leave my sins, miserable would accompany me, and I can but be dammed and I should be dammed then I may as well be damned for many sins.

My disposition began to change as I read a part of scripture which said that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine. And also I read another part of scripture of which Christ himself said that He had not come for those who are well but for those who are sick. I began to put these two passages together and concluded in the affirmative that I was guilty beyond doubt of the first passage and of the second passage I am indeed the sickest soul that perhaps may have ever lived. Then I asked myself the question, ‘if Christ came for the sick, then did he also come for me’. I pondered this question for a while and could only rest on the affirmative that Christ also came for me or else He would have been found to be a liar lest I wasn’t part of His flock. But my heart burned and there I remember the story of the woman who said to herself that if only I may touch his garment. But how do I touch his garment? I knew not how.

On a Sunday morning, the grey cloud about to burst with a thunderstorm, feared my soul that I ought to be found in a church lest God should direct his thunderstorm at me. I ventured into the service and sat by the corner with a laden mind. I looked at the preacher and He began to speak to my soul:

`come boldly to the throne of grace' (Heb. 4:16) in all our grievances? Shall our sins discourage us, when he appears there only for sinners? Are you bruised? Be of good comfort, he calls you. Conceal not your wounds, open all before him and take not Satan's counsel. Go to Christ, although trembling, as the poor woman who said, `If I may but touch his garment' (Matt. 9:21). We shall be healed and have a gracious answer. Go boldly to God in our flesh; he is flesh of our flesh, and bone of our bone for this reason, that we might go boldly to him. Never fear to go to God, since we have such a Mediator with him, who is not only our friend but our brother and husband. Well might the angel proclaim from heaven, `Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy' (Luke 2:10). Well might the apostle stir us up to `rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice' (Phil. 4:4). Paul was well advised upon what grounds he did it. Peace and joy are two main fruits of Christ's kingdom. Let the world be as it will, if we cannot rejoice in the world, yet we may rejoice in the Lord. His presence makes any condition comfortable. `Be not afraid,' says he to his disciples, when they were afraid, as if they had seen a ghost, `It is I' (Matt. 14:27), as if there were no cause of fear where he was present'. (Richard Sibbes).

There I began to cry and for the first time behold the crucified messiah and the risen Lord, understanding that He bled for me and rose again that I may have a new life. In that moment all of my afflictions were lifted away from me and I felt the fullness of life for Christ himself came to sit with me. He held me softly and gently and my tears became tender and harder for I never conceived of such a God who could love a sinner like me.


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