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Some of the ladies attended the 10th Annual Ladies Retreat at Camp JOY last week. Our own Darlene Sorensen was one of the speakers. The featured speaker was Gladys Cunningham, she and her husband, Oscar Cunningham, served as home missionaries in this area starting in the early 1950’s. It was in about 1963 that Oscar and Gladys began the ministry at CAMP JOY providing a Christian camp for youth that continues to this day.
The Jubilee Singers sang a special song in the Sunday morning service. Pastor Bob Sorensen spoke on “The Sweetest Word in the Bible!” He used Titus 2:11-15 as the basis for his message.
The word grace is used many times in the Bible, but there is no record that Jesus used the word in his teachings. Jesus did not have to speak about grace, for he was the manifestation of grace. Without grace there is no gospel. We are sinners in need of salvation. We can’t save ourselves. We don’t have to. Jesus did it for us.
God’s grace is unconditional. It is a gift to an undeserving sinner. The gift of salvation is not obtained by doing good works, or if we don’t lie, rob, or steal. It is done by God when we by faith receive his gift of salvation by grace. “The Grace of the Saviour + Faith of the Sinner = Salvation.”
Grace is unmerited. Justice is getting what we deserve. Mercy is when God does not give us the punishment that we rightly deserve. Grace is when he gives us the good that we do not deserve. You can’t work your way to heaven. If you go to Hell you pay your own way, but you can have a Free Pass to Heaven. If you work, you earn wages. If you participate in a competition, you can earn a trophy or a prize. You may receive an award for good deeds, but grace is when you earn no wages, deserve no reward, and you receive them anyway.
Grace is free, but it is not cheap. Grace cost God’s only Son his life. Grace is not like “writing off” a debt, because the debt of sin must be paid. Jesus paid the debt he did not owe.
When we are saved we are enrolled by God in the “University of Christian Living.” Students at an ordinary university may receive a B.A. upon completion of a certain course of study, but we must have a B.A. (Born Again) to enroll in the “University of Christian Living.”
When we are saved we are placed in the First Grade with nothing to earn but a lot to learn. The first day we learn two lessons from the teacher, “Dr. Grace,” 1. God loves us the way we are. 2. He loves us too much to let us stay that way. These lessons continue all our lives.
“Dr. Grace” teaches us to leave the sinful life. Some people wrongly see grace as a license to sin. It is just the opposite. It is not license to sin, but liberty to live as we ought. Grace changes appetites. Grace changes ambitions, attitudes, and actions. Two things are true if we are truly saved, we cannot live like we used to and we don’t want to live like we used to.
Grace teaches us to live a sanctified life. We are to be sober, righteous, godly in body, soul, and spirit in the present world. We are to depart from evil, to say “no” to wrong and “yes” to right. It takes grace to live in the present age because we are not yet in the “Sweet by and by” but in the “Nasty Now.”
Grace teaches us to love the servant life, to be zealous to serve the living God. Grace abounds to every good work, but all work may not be pleasant. Grace enables us to persist in service to the Lord.
Grace will remove us from the presence of sin. Jesus came the first time to pay for our sins. He comes the second time to receive us unto himself. He will take us to a new home, away from the temptation and penalties of sin.
John Newton had lived a wicked life and suffered much. After he tasted the soul changing grace of God, he wrote the song, “Amazing Grace.” All Christians can relate to the message of that song. “Amazing Grace, How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.”