In last Sunday’s sermon I gave the analogy of the trauma of being stuck in quicksand. I hope I didn’t cause you to have any nightmares of falling into quicksand! I shared with you that once stuck it is impossible to get out unless someone comes along and helps you. The harder you try to escape using your own strength the more trapped you become. I went on to suggest that this is the position we find ourselves in when it comes to our spiritual condition before a righteous God. We are stuck in sin! Sin brings with it judgement, just as any misdemeanor we commit in society will bring judgement and penalty from our justice department. We stand guilty before God and punishment will be forthcoming. Yet, remarkably as we have learned, God steps in to save us! God sent a Saviour to pull us up out of the mire of sin and judgement we find ourselves hopelessly trapped in.
Let us go back to the pit of quicksand. Here we see ourselves slowly but surely sinking to a suffocating death. Then, remarkably, someone comes along the track and sees our desperate situation. He sizes up the situation and throws out a rope or a device to us. All we need to do is to grab hold of the rope as best we can. He then pulls with all his might to extract us from that pit of death. We do nothing but hold on and are eventually pulled to safety … or salvation! What did we do to gain this salvation other than hold on to the rope? Nothing! The stranger who pulled us out could have passed us by … but he didn’t. He showed us grace and mercy when we were absolutely and utterly helpless.
James Packer describes grace like this … “What is grace? In the New Testament grace means God’s love in action towards men who merited the opposite of love. Grace means God moving heaven and earth to save sinners who could not lift a finger to save themselves. Grace means God sending His only Son to descend into hell on the cross so that we guilty ones might be reconciled to God and received into heaven. (God) hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” Yes, we need faith … but what is faith other than holding out hands and accepting the amazing gift of life … new life in Christ?
Today I am preaching at Hurstville Church of Christ and will miss you very much … I do love you so! But, praise the Lord, Pastor Ernest will take you into Romans 4 today and will look at what it means to be justified by faith and what saving faith is. It has much to do with trust … trusting God to do the impossible!