Devotion for January 19, 2016
[This message was an interactive homily at an inner-city mission in Toronto, at a mid-week outreach event}
What is your favourite band? Your favourite song? You favourite work of art?
A lot of us have like and dislikes when it comes to music, and some of us have likes and dislikes when it come to art.
We feel like certain bands or certain songs are just soooo good, soooo great, that they deserve to be acknowledged. Someone should say out loud how great those things are. And, actually, we do that.
There’s the Rock and Roll Hall of Flame. What other halls of fame do we have? The Hockey Hall of Fame. Hockey players that were just so great that they deserved to be applauded, recognized, celebrated for their accomplishments.
There’s the music hall of fame. Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Anne Murray, April Wine, Alanis Morrisette, Bryan Adams, Gordon Lightfoot. Lots and lots of the greats.
Most of us, myself included, will never be in a hall of fame. That’s just not what we’re aiming for, not what we’re about. But did you know that God wants to make each of us His masterpiece? Weird but true.
At one point each of the stars I’ve mentioned, or the hockey greats, they were regular people (they still are regular people, really). They were regular people just working away at their chosen field. Hockey, music, baseball, you name it. And then something happened. It’s always a combination of ability and timing and...and one very important thing...someone saw in them the potential to be something very special.
All of those people had someone in their corner, rooting them on, encouraging them, helping to bring out the best in them. And you know, the Bible says that God creates great things out of people too. God makes masterpieces out of us when we turn toward Him. God makes masterpieces. Not sure you believe me?
Well, today’s Scripture passage is this “8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:8-10
Cool, eh? What does that mean? First, When we believe the gospel, God saves us. When we believe that Jesus died for our sins, that He died in our place, God saves us. By His grace, which is a gift. It’s not a thing we strive for or fight for. It’s not a reward that we earn. It’s none of that stuff. If it was, we’d brag about it. We’d boast about having earned the right to be with God.
What does ‘saving us’ mean? It means that God has rescued us. He rescues us from ourselves, from evil. In the big picture he rescues us from hell. Jesus suffered on the cross for our sins so that you and I don’t have to suffer for our sins.
It also means that He’s saved us for Himself. He wants to walk with us, He wants us to live our lives knowing that we matter because He says so.