"I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners -- of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.,” [1 Timothy 1:12-17]
“ Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee's house and reclined at the table. When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee's house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is -- that she is a sinner." Jesus answered him, "Simon, I have something to tell you." "Tell me, teacher," he said. "Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?" Simon replied, "I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled." "You have judged correctly," Jesus said. Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven -- for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little." Then Jesus said to her, "Your sins are forgiven,” [Luke 7:36-38]
“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” [1 John 3:1]
“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” There you have it; Jesus came to save sinners. This is what God cares deeply about: Making sinners saints –doing the impossible. This is the mission of God the Father, Christ Jesus and the Church of the Firstborn. God so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten Son, Christ so loved the world that He gave His life for the lost, and we so love the world that we pick up our crosses daily to please God as Christ did. To die to ourselves means to bring life to the world. But for this to happen as it should, as it must, gratitude is the key. Have you ever noticed that the word, “gratitude,” looks like the word, “grace?” Both of these words come from a Latin word, “gratus,” which means a favor given to us that we never deserved. To be gracious means to pass the gratitude on to others. And Jesus used a remarkable situation to show how grace really should work. Through the life of a deeply wounded woman, someone who had traveled a very broken road, Jesus taught us that whoever is forgiven much loves much, but whoever has been forgiven little… loves little. Here is the power of the Gospel, unleashed in your own life: When you, like the Apostle Paul, remember where you came from, when you remember what extremes God went to, so that you could be His child, when you remember the depths and destruction of sin and what that meant for you when you were without Jesus, when you know for certain, despite all of your sin, that God has really forgiven you, then there is unbelievable gratitude in your heart. And remember, true gratitude can only come from grace –and grace only comes from God. In other words, when the power of the blood of Jesus and our gratitude, which can only flow, from God’s great love and grace combine, then the world is powerfully transformed.
He who is forgiven much… loves much. In fact, when we truly contemplate the great love God has showed us, our gratitude supernaturally motivates us to express forgiveness and grace to even the worst of sinners. Paul explained it this way: God saved him because if a guy like Paul can be saved, then ANYBODY can be radically changed by the love of God. God chose to love us –even though we didn’t deserve that love. Christ chose to love us –even though we, by our fallen nature, had wanted to kill Him. And we, if we are truly grateful, love the unworthy, our enemies, our neighbors who do us wrong, who do wrong to those who are closest to us. After all, we have been bought with a price, we are not our own –we serve a new Master. Why should we bother listening to the old “master”? Did anything truly good come from listening to him? Revenge sounds like it would to the trick, but that only furthers the concepts of death. When has death ever made us happy? But Christ died –He went to that extreme– to show us the concept of true gratitude: He loved God so much that He wanted to please God –because He was extremely grateful to Him and therefore wanted to please Him –however He was asked to do that, wherever it lead Him, it didn’t matter. Jesus loved very much… because He was grateful. Shouldn’t we be even much more grateful than Jesus? After all, Jesus never sinned. But Jesus moved heaven and earth to show His love for God and all people. But we are sinners –every one of us. Some have perhaps sinned more than others have. But the result of sin (great or small) is eternal, spiritual death. If that’s true, doesn’t every Christian have something for which he or she can be grateful? The Gospel flows freely and powerfully through a grateful heart. A truly grateful heart is even willing to follow Jesus to the cross, to the gallows, to serve an enemy a cup of kindness or turn the tables on a wicked agenda. Children of God are always grateful. And a grateful heart loves much. If you’ve been forgiven, like me, for a lot of sinful behavior, then love much. We have much to be grateful for. And Jesus put it this way: We will show God our love for Him by obeying Him [John 14:15]. A loving and grateful heart is supernaturally ready to serve –and doesn’t waste time thinking about what I deserve, what recognition I should receive, or what vengeance I can exact on someone who has wounded me –there is so little time, and so much power in being grateful. It’s very much time to reject the way of the evil one and to embrace the Way of the One who is Mighty to Save. Forgive recklessly. Love unreservedly. And be grateful, very, very grateful. Because Christ died for you… because He loves you. Go love like that, because you are grateful.
Amazed by His grace,