Summary: Paul shares about all the wonderful blessings that are ours because of the salvation we have in Christ.
John W. Peterson, who wrote both the words and music for the hymn, “Heaven Came Down” says that he wrote it in the summer of 1961, when he was directing the singing one week at the Montrose Bible Conference in Montrose, Pennsylvania. During one of the sessions, an opportunity for personal testimony was given to the audience. An old gentleman rose to his feet and told of his conversion experience. In describing that night when he met Christ, he used the phrase, “It seemed like heaven came down and glory filled my soul.” “Right away,” Peterson said, “I knew that it would be a fine title for a song, so I wrote it down and later in the week completed the song.” The chorus of the song is as follows:
Heaven came down and glory filled my soul,
When at the cross the Savior made me whole;
My sins were washed away and my night was turned to day,
Heaven came down and glory filled my soul!
The description of salvation given in this song is similar to Paul’s description in verse 3: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.”
Through the presence of Christ, heaven comes down and fills the soul of those who put their faith in Him. Indeed, ours is a special salvation. A special salvation, Paul tells us, because through our salvation, we have received . . .
1. A special purpose - v. 4
Through our salvation, God has called us to live holy and blameless lives.
Fifty years after Paul’s death, Ignatius was being taken to Rome where he would be martyred for Christ. In his letter to the Romans, he asked the church to pray for him, that his death might be a witness for Christ. “Only pray for me for strength,” he wrote, “both inward and outward, that I may not merely speak, but also have the will, that I may not only be called a Chris¬tian, but may also be found to be one.”
We too, are to seek to live in such a way that we may not only call ourselves a Christian, but may also be found to be one.
Such is the calling that God gives to all who have received salvation through faith in Christ.
2. A special place - vs. 5-6
Through our salvation, we have a special place in the heart of God - we are His child!
“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”- 1 John 3:1 (NIV)
It has been said that any man can be a father but that it takes a special kind of man to be a Dad! The ideal father does more than simply have a part in the procreation of the child, he helps to mold the child throughout his growing years through generous amounts of love, guidance, correction, forgiveness and praise. Fortunate are those who have had more than a biological father but have had a father with whom they had such a personal relationship. Whether or not this has been the case for you, this much is for certain: we can all experience the ultimate father-child relationship when we experience God as our Heavenly Father.
“If God had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it. If he had a wallet, your photo would be in it. He sends you flowers every spring and a sunrise every morning. Whenever you want to talk, he’ll listen.” - Max Lucado
As the children of God, we are the objects of His love, which is, indeed, a special place!
3. A special pardon - vs. 7-8
“We were doing a baptism service. We told people before they came up to the platform to be baptized to take a piece of paper, write down a few of the sins they’ve committed, and fold the paper. When they come up to the platform, there was a large wooden cross on the stage. Take that piece of paper, take a pin, and pin it to the cross, because the Bible says our sins are nailed to the cross with Jesus Christ, and fully paid for by his death. Then turn and come to the pastor to be baptized. I want to read you a letter a woman wrote who was baptized in one of those services. She said: ‘I remember my fear. In fact, it was the most fear I remember in my life. I wrote as tiny as I could on that piece of paper the word abortion. I was so scared someone would open the paper and read it and find out it was me. I wanted to get up and walk out of the auditorium during the service, the guilt and fear were that strong. When my turn came, I walked toward the cross, and I pinned the paper there. I was directed to a pastor to be baptized. He looked me straight in the eyes, and I thought for sure that he was going to read this terrible secret I kept from everybody for so long. But instead, I felt like God was telling me, I love you. It’s okay. You’ve been forgiven. I felt so much love for me, a terrible sinner. It’s the first time I ever really felt forgiveness and unconditional love. It was unbelievable, indescribable.’ Do you have inside of you a secret sin that you wouldn’t even want to write down on a piece of paper out of fear somebody might open it up and find out? Let me tell you something about the Jesus I know. Not only does he want to adopt you as his child, he wants to lift the weight of guilt off your shoulders.” Lee Strobel, from sermon: “Meet the Jesus I Know”