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A large downtown church had three mission churches in the run-down part of town under its care. They came together for a joint worship service on the first Sunday of the year. At the communion table knelt a judge who belonged to the downtown church and also an ex-convict from one of the mission church.

Afterwards the judge commented to the pastor about God’s miracle of grace, considering who was at the communion table. And the pastor agreed. Then the judged asked, “Who do you think I was referring to.” And the pastor said, “The ex-convict you had sentenced.” The judge replied, “I wasn’t referring to him, but to myself. When that convict was released he knew how he had ruined his life and had no hope in himself. God brought him to see that in Jesus he had forgiveness, hope, and salvation. But look at me. From little on up I was taught to be good, to say prayers, to go church. I went to Oxford, passed the bar, and eventually became a respected judge. Nothing but God’s grace could lead me to see that I am a sinner on the same level as that convict I sent to jail. (adapted from Illustrations Unlimited, James Hewett, ed. Tyndale House Publishers, Wheaton, Ill. © 1988, p 257.)

As sinners, we are all on the same level – by nature dead. We deserve only God’s anger and punishment. But grace is undeserved love. We can not earn or purchase God’s grace. It comes at Christ’s expense at that is why God’s grace is only in Jesus.

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