Snowflakes and Amazing Grace


Hey everyone, it's Hart. Maybe one day life will slow down a bit and I'll have more time to get on here to post. But that's not right now. Anyways, thought I'd share this with y'all...

This morning while driving in to work I was listening to 89.7 WMHK (the Christian radio station here in Columbia). Most of the time I try to avoid MHK because I'm really not a fan, but some times I find with the sports talk radio or oldies music I normally listen to, I become too world focused, and so I'll flip over to MHK with the hopes the Lord might use it to get my mind off the things of this world and fixed on Him.

Anyways, so this morning while listening to them, they quoted a recent study. I don't remember the stats and numbers they gave, but apparently studies have been conducted that say our culture is very self-centered, and this self-centeredness is very dangerous. Us self-centered? That's not a shock. Why do you think things like Twitter are so popular? It's because we think we're so important people actually want to know every single thing we do through out the day.

Anyways, while they were saying all this it got me's no surprise we're a self-centered culture. We're brought up from a young age being taught how unique we are, and how we're all individuals, and all so different and so important. We're all like snowflakes. Not one is the same. Therefore we need to celebrate our individuality.

But then I started thinking how sadly lots of churches and other Christian outlets (radio, magazines, books, etc) feed into that. If you were to go pick up a random book at your local Christian bookstore, or tune into your local Christian radio station, the probability is pretty high that you are going to be bombarded with God's love. Don't get me wrong. We need to be reminded of God's love. There was a season in my life where I wasn't reminded enough of His love, and I became a dried up, apathetic yet legalistic Christian. But there's another part of the equation that is far too often left out....our sin. Our "un-loveableness".

I believe because of sin we are all naturally inclined to believe we are good people. Yeah, we've got sin. Yeah, we've got flaws. But nobody is perfect. Isn't that what our culture says? Isn't that what we some times catch ourselves thinking? So if that's what you believe, and you are always being told how much God loves you, what's your response going to be to that message? It's going to be "Of course God loves me. I'm a likeable guy! What's not to love about me!?"


God doesn't love me because I'm a good, likeable guy who tries to be nice and honest and occasionally do good deeds. God loves me because He is rich in mercy, and for some reason, one I'll probably never understand, chose to sacrifice His Son Jesus so that through the blood of Jesus I can be saved and I can now receive the love of God and in turn love Him.

I know you are familiar with the hymn "Amazing Grace". It was written by a guy named John Newton. If you don't know his story, google it (in fact I just did that for you) In a nutshell, John Newton spent time as a captain on slave trading ships. That's pretty despicable, wouldn't you agree? He made a living and financially profited by taking human beings who had been captured and ripped away from their homes and families, to be brought to other countries where they were sold as slaves, and treated like animals.

But what if the Christian music in John Newton's generation was like our's today, and he was always told how God loves him so much? He probably, like so many today, would have believed despite not being a perfect person, was for the most part a likeable and loveable guy. And therefore, of course God loved him and would overlook his sin.

But that's not how it worked. Through the Holy Spirit pricking his heart, attacking his conscience, he began to see the depth of his sin. He began to understand the book of James when it says even if you have sinned just once in your life that makes you a sinner and a lawbreaker. He began to understand the part in the book of Romans that God gave us the law so that we would see we are a sinful people in need of a Savior. He began to understand Eph. chapter 2 which says without Jesus, because of your sin, you have rebelled against the King of all kings, therefore you are His enemy. He began to understand that one day God will judge and destroy His enemies.

But he also understood the rest of Eph. chapter 2 and that God is rich in mercy and has provided a sacrifice. And he began to understand that if he believed in his heart and confessed with his mouth that Jesus is Lord he would be saved. Saved from what? Not Satan. Not Hell. Not this world. Not his burdens, or trials, or problems. But from God's wrath. He understood that God sent Jesus to save us from God.

He understood he was a horrible, wicked, wretched, filthy, vile sinner. There was absolutely nothing loveable or good about him, and that he rightfully had earned and deserved God's punishment. But he understood that God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Through Jesus, he could be saved from the approaching wrath. And that's why he called it "AMAZING grace"!!!

I wish that message were more clearly spelled out on the Christian radio stations, or all those books that fill up the Christian book stores, and those many churches that sit on street corners throughout this country. It makes me realize a couple things: 1) It's not the radio station/bookstore/magazine's job to preach the gospel. It's ours. Yes, God would be more glorified if those other outlets proclaimed the truth with love, clarity and boldness, but God did not say use Christian radio to make disciples. He told us to go and make disciples. 2) It makes me thankful to God that we are plugged in at a church where that message is clearly stated every week, and that we are blessed to live in a city where there are other churches that do the same. 3) We need to be praying for the countless churches, and the radio stations, and bookstores, and musicians, and authors, and tv-vangelists, and pastors, and Christians throughout this country who don't preach that message. Who don't preach it out of fear they will offend others. Out of fear they will be rejected. Out of fear they will be persecuted. Out of fear they may be killed for it.

Many will reject the gospel. God promises that. But He also promises there is a remnant who will undone by it, and will call it amazing grace!

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