A letter I wrote to our church many years ago. And today, it’s still about Grace!

Why do children ask “why” to every little statement you make?  Our neighbor’s,  the Arnolds,  have a little girl named Jena who is 4 years old.  Jena and Anna enjoy playing with each other and sometimes Jena rings our door bell to invite Anna to play.  Upon opening the door the following conversation and others like it take place: “Can Anna come out and play?”  I respond politely,  “No,  she has to take a bath,”  which she responds with this long drawn out, “WwwHhhYyy?”  “Because she has to get ready for supper.”  Again,  she asks,  “WwwHhhYyy?”  I say,  “Because she needs her energy for school tomorrow”, “WwwHhhYyy?”,  she says again.  This goes on and on.  She’s so cute.

Adults are no better – and no wonder, we want to know why as well. We want a reason,  a purpose,  a goal that makes sense and compels us to jump on board with something great and awesome. In fact, I believe we were designed to ask, “Why?” This is part of what it means to be made in the image, in the likeness of God’s character. God does nothing without a reason, absolutely nothing without an awesome purpose in mind. And we are like him in this area – both the saved and the lost, all humans are made in the image of God and all of us want to know [Why?].

Like, Why did God create? Why did he allow sin to persist? Why does he allow Satan to exist? Why do we have so many variations of colors, birds, trees, animals, terrain, bugs and fish? Why do we aspire to great things? Why do we even care to aspire to great things? Why do angels exist? Why should I go to work? Why should I love my wife, my husband, my children, my dog? Why am I unemployed? Why do I suffer with physical infirmities? Why did my car break down – today? Why is there gravity, and other laws of creation? Why do we like to play games, grow vegetables, make our lawns and homes look attractive? Why do we as humans love beauty? Why did Jesus die?
Answer:  Everything – to the Praise of the Glory of His Grace!

“. . . to the praise of his glorious grace” (Eph. 1:6), “. . . to the praise of his glory” (vs. 12), “. . . to the praise of his glory” (vs. 14).

Ephesians 2:3 teaches us that we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the sinful desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. As lost men and women, everything we did, we did it to satisfy our quest for meaning and happiness in this life. We lived sinfully to fill our lives with purpose and joy. From sexual immorality to self-gratification and self-envy for doing such a splendid job on a test, a project, a global cause – we lived for ourselves. We lived, played, worked,  and everything else that can be done as a human, to the praise of the strength and wisdom and folly of man. In other words, being made in the image of God we correctly pursued meaning and joy and satisfaction in this life but we pursued it without giving thanks to God and without glorifying Him (Romans 1:21). Everything we did, we did it to derive pleasure and praise from our accomplishments. We did not value the glory of God as praiseworthy (Romans 1:23) so we found our purpose and meaning in life by placing greater value upon everything else but God (Romans 1:24-32).

“But God, being rich in mercy,  because of the great love with which he loved us,  even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved – and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith.  And this is not your own doing;  it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his masterpiece created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared in advance that we should walk in them”

(Ephesians 2:4-10).

As an heir of salvation, everything in this life has a purpose and a goal – and it is this:  God’s priceless grace will be seen in everything that he has created and worked through His Son Jesus Christ. Undeserving sinners will be filled with praise and adoration over this grace because as humans, we have groped for purpose in everything we do. This outward praise comes from the joy that we feel in our souls. And why are we happy about this?  Because we know why everything exists and why everything happens the way it does.  We know why there are butterflies and why sin is so unsatisfying. We know why we are here on earth and we know why God sent His Son. We know why we support missionaries and we know why we mow the grass. We know why we sleep and we know why God created sex. We know why suffering is a part of our lives and we know why we die. Everything, absolutely everything will somehow and in some way, cause joyful praise to gush forth throughout the universe over the massive wealth of His Grace that God chose to give us through His Son.

It is because of His Grace that I don’t love my sin or His creation more than Him.                 It is because of His Grace that makes sense out of my existence.

This is the vision,  the horizon and perception that I have as a Christian for all of my life. It is with this vision that I shepherd, to help sheep see what God is up to in His creation and in sending His Son for you. It is with this vision that I encourage you to lay hold of for your life; your sufferings, your delights, your marriage, your singleness, your child-rearing, your work, your play, your emotions, your longing for justice, your growing distaste for sin, your failures, and your craving to be clothed in pure righteousness.

I believe that we at Grace Community Church must have a clear vision for living our lives.  If we don’t, we will struggle with our identity and purpose as a church, we will waste our lives on the temporal, and we will miss out on pursuing a goal for which we can give our lives to. We are to be cause-oriented to something great and meaningful as Christ-followers. We seek a homeland whose builder and maker is God. I want us to see, feel,  taste, smell, and know that everything in this life is going somewhere – it is going to display the majesty and worth of Jesus Christ in all His Holy Wrath and Grace. If our God is immeasurable and infinite in all His being, then you can count on it, everything in your life will in some way, somehow, and someday, cause you to praise the glory of His grace.

For our Eternal and Increasing Joy,
Pastor Ivan
 

 

5 thoughts on “A letter I wrote to our church many years ago. And today, it’s still about Grace!

  1. Does your site have a contact page? I’m having a tough time locating it but,
    I’d like to shoot you an email. I’ve got some creative ideas
    for your blog you might be interested in hearing. Either way, great website and
    I look forward to seeing it develop over time.

    • Hi Hannah. My geeky admin. guy put this site together the way I wanted it – so I’ll have to ask about the contact page. Here is my personal email: gccyorkville@sbcglobal.net. Looking forward to hearing from you, and thanks for your comments.
      Ivan

  2. Can I just say what a comfort to discover someone that truly
    knows what they are discussing online. You actually know how
    to bring an issue to light and make it important. A lot more people should look at this and
    understand this side of your story. I can’t believe you aren’t more
    popular given that you most certainly have the gift.

    • Hi Jaunita. Thanks so much. I’m not posting much right now because I’m bogged down with so many other writing/pastoring/family responsibilities. In a week I should be back at. Take care,
      Ivan

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