A Devotion from President Davey
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In Romans 3:22, Paul goes further to clarify.
. . . even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe . . .
This is the hope for mankind – it is faith in Jesus Christ.
Peter preached the same gospel of faith in Christ, when he said, in Acts 4:12,
. . . there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.
The first thing you need to understand about salvation is that it is not something you provide for God, it is something God provided for you.
We have broken the Law and we are without excuse. We cannot do enough good things to counterbalance the scales of our sinfulness. We are without a voice to object; we are condemned already and, in silence, we stand before a holy God without excuses . . . without hope.
But now . . . there is hope for the hopeless!
But now . . . there is grace for the guilty!
But now . . . there is pardon for the condemned!
How? Paul answers,
. . . through faith in Jesus Christ . . .
I read of a true story that occurred in a small village in Brazil.
In a little hut with a dirt floor and a red tile roof, lived Maria, a mother, with her daughter, Christina. Maria’s husband had died when Christina was just an infant and she had done her best to raise her daughter. Christina was now a pretty teenaged girl and the time had come for her to seek employment to add to the income from Maria’s job as a house cleaner. Maria’s job provided enough to buy food and clothing, but there was barely enough to make ends meet.
It was time for Christina to find a job. Trouble was, Christina had a streak of independence in her. She often talked to her mother about fleeing the dusty little village and going to Rio de Janeiro to seek opportunities in the big city. Her mother would react in fear and tell her daughter, “The streets are cruel.”
Maria knew that if her daughter ever went there, she would not be able to support herself. She was afraid of what Christina would have to do to survive. That is why the morning that Maria found her daughter’s pallet empty, her heart broke. She knew where Christina had gone.
Maria immediately gathered her clothing and headed for the bus depot. When she arrived in Rio De Janeiro, she went to a little drug store. She took all of the money that she could possibly spare, stepped into a photograph booth, closed the curtain and took as many pictures as she could. Now, armed with her bag of clothing and a purse full of little black and white photographs, she headed for the back streets. She knew that Christina had no skills for earning money and also knew that, when pride met hunger, there was no telling what a human being would do to survive.
For weeks Maria went to bars, hotels and nightclubs – the street corners where prostitutes gathered – and looked for her daughter. Wherever she went, she would tape her picture to a wall, or a mirror, or a bulletin board. She went everywhere she possibly could. On the back of each photograph, she had written the same message. Finally, she ran out of money and photographs and had not found Christina. Tired and broken hearted, she wept as she rode the rickety old bus back to her village.
Several months later, Christina was descending the steps of a hotel and looked across the lobby to see a familiar face taped to a mirror. She recognized it. Her eyes filled with tears and her throat burned as she
ran across the lobby floor and pulled the picture off the mirror. It was indeed, a picture of her mother.
She stared at her mother’s face for a long time and then happened to turn the photograph over. When
she did, she read the note which her mother had written on every one of the photographs,
“Wherever you are, whatever you have become, I will forgive you. Please come home.”
And, Christina did just that. She went home.
Imagine, against the dark despair of sin, the gift of forgiveness.
Sinful Christina, wretched and hopeless . . . but now!
Like Christina, we have nothing to offer God. But we have everything to receive from God. Cleansing, grace, and forgiveness offered by that Lamb of God who came to take away the sin of the world – your sin. All of it. And mine too.
Oh , the joy for those who offer their sin to God and receive the free gift of salvation from God; those who experience the meaning of the words, “but now!”
These words have become lyrics in the most universally recognized hymn of all time. A song written by a former slave trader who finally accepted the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, the Lamb.
John Newton wrote his testimony in the words of that famous hymn,
How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind but now I see.
That’s another way of saying, after the darkness . . .light!
This devotional is an excerpt from President Davey’s book, What the Cross of Christ Destroys.
Want to read more? Check out the next excerpt in this series.”