There is the scene in Saving Private Ryan where Tom Hanks challenges young Matt Damon to earn this, earn the sacrifice – the efforts – the messiness – the labors put forth by others to save him. Sappy or not, it was a personal challenge to appreciate all that went in to saving his hide. I’ve even mentioned this from the pulpit before when talking about the cross. The principle thrust with the concept of using this movie in connection to the cross is that we can never earn it … never deserve it … nor ever do enough to pay Him back for what He did for you, for me. We can live based on it … strive to honor Him and be humbled by what Christ did … but in the end, it is never enough. But that’s why we need to understand it is all about grace.
I mentioned it yesterday … and will talk on it a few more days. I think in this messy world we need to understand it better than we do. It has been a key theme in my ministry for last decade. Maybe, like yesterday’s entry pointed out, the older I get the more I realize I need it and how much grace I have already received.
So today, let me share the five points of grace as expounded by a great preacher – Vance Havner.
Vance Havner once said that someone spelled out “grace” as…
G [stands] for Gift, the principle of grace.
R [stands] for Redemption, the purpose of grace.
A [stands] for Access, the privilege of grace.
C [stands] for Character, the product of grace.
E [stands] for Eternal Life, the prospect of grace.
The principle … we don’t deserve it but God gives it anyway.
The purpose … to redeem us, buy us back from sin, save us.
The privilege … we now can come boldly before the throne without fear, without hesitation, seeking aid in time of need. That is true access.
The product … it is producing a Christlike character in us. Molding us into the image of the Son.
The prospect … there is more than what we see. There is eternity with Christ.
I know I use this word a lot, but ……… WOW. So, I will leave these five points of Grace and let you ponder them. One direct challenge … if you think you deserve God’s attention, sacrifice, or salvation … you don’t. So rest in the wonder of His Grace of His He saves and uses broken things. And say thank you.
I met Havner a few times. He was a friend of my father and I will introduce you more to him this weekend. Having passed away almost 30 years ago, I miss him. I can truly say we need more preachers like him in the pulpits. One author said, “Vance was half Charles Spurgeon and half Billy Sunday with the voice of Will Rogers.” This generation may have to google those names, but once you get, you’ll realize how impactful this small firecracker was, and still is. Return this weekend for more on Havner (8.12 entry).