If you want to learn something and remember it forever, here’s a hint: turn it into a song. How many of us first learned our ABCs by hearing, then singing this. (Sing a few lines of the Alphabet Song or play a YouTube version—search online for “alphabet song.”)
Centuries and centuries ago, when Moses wanted the people of Israel to remember what God had commanded and promised them, when he wanted them to be able to recall it long after he himself was in heaven, he taught them a song! Still today, God’s people can read the song Moses taught Israel in Deuteronomy 32.
Songs are mentally “sticky.” We remember them.
So how about this one? (Speak, sing, or play the first stanza of “Amazing Grace.” Various versions are available on YouTube and elsewhere online.)
Most of us know those words by heart, don’t we? The lyrics stick with us. I hope those lyrics mean more, though, than (singing, if possible) A,B,C,D,E,F,G. These lyrics, and the verses from Ephesians on which they are based, lie at the very heart of the Christian faith. Listen! (Read Ephesians 2:8–9.)
Did you catch that in verse 8? “It is the gift of God”! Our relationship with God comes to us as his gift of grace to us. We bring nothing to the party. We contribute nothing to the bottom line. In fact, we couldn’t do that, even if we tried our hardest—starting now and working our hearts out into all eternity.
Life with God is the gift of God! It is amazing grace!
Perhaps it’s not much of a surprise, though, that many of the people around us consider this an ugly truth. Subtly or not so subtly, they rebel against it. “What? Surely, that can’t be right!” they think. “I’ve worked hard for what I have. I’ve made myself the person I am today. I live a better life than most people. I’m no ‘wretch’! I’ve done my best. God can’t ask for more than that! (Can he?!)”
Yes. He can. Yes. He does! A holy God requires holy lives of his children. We are his children, but we are far from holy—in and of ourselves. We live lives of self-focus. We live as if we matter most. We put the commands of our Lord Jesus and the needs of the other people around us all on the back burner as often as it serves our purposes.
And even when we do get around to prayer, to worship, to meeting the needs of others, we often do that for unholy reasons. We want to make ourselves feel good about ourselves. We want our neighbors or friends to admire us. We want to convince God that we’re okay and that he should keep on blessing us—or maybe even bless us a little more. In short, we give to get, and there are probably few people in this room who would enjoy seeing an X-ray of their motives from the past week projected on a screen for all to see.
It’s true, and it’s truly bad news. But, it also makes the grace of our heavenly Father all the more amazing. The Bible tells us that while we were still rebels, still sinners, Christ Jesus died for us. (Read Romans 5:8.)
The cross of our Savior made God’s amazing grace possible. The resurrection of our Savior makes God’s amazing grace unstoppable! Death itself cannot slow the cascade of forgiveness, life, and peace that flows to each one of us from Jesus’ empty tomb!
Right now, today, even as we sit here, God’s amazing grace is at work in our lives. It transforms us into selfless servants of the Savior. Listen to the connections Paul makes in Ephesians 2:8–10. (Read this passage slowly.)
That’s the grace of God. And it is truly amazing!
Editor’s note: Today’s devotion is slightly adapted from the Ministry Message that accompanies the Amazing Grace for a Woman’s Heart® line of products.