For many years I have been involved in the Gospel ministry. During that time I have made it a point to be clear and true to the grace of God. I have taught heavily the truth that salvation is “by grace through faith – and that not of yourselves.” (See Ephesians 2:8-9) I have taught regularly that salvation is about what God has committed to us and not what we commit to Him. Don’t get me wrong, I fully believe we should be committed to Him – yet that does not earn us His favor – it should be a result of having His favor! As I mentioned in last week’s devotion: “grace is the greatest motivating factor in the world for serving God!”
Over these years there have been occasions where I (and many others) have been accused of preaching “easy believism.” It has been said that I cheapen grace. Yet I think asking someone to pay for his salvation is what cheapens grace – as if Christ’s payment was not enough. And when it boils down to it I don’t think that “believing in Christ” as one’s Substitute is necessarily that easy.
A great example came a couple of weeks ago in an NBA game. The Denver Nuggets were playing and the coach sent a sub into the game for Carmelo Anthony. Carmelo felt he was playing well and turned the sub away. In doing so he drew a suspension from his team.
Carmelo is like any other player; it takes some humility to go to the bench and realize you need a replacement. Yet the coach’s job is to determine that.
The Heavenly Coach has told us we need a replacement and sent that Sub into the game for us. All religions are trying to earn the Coach’s favor by how they “play the game.” The Gospel message is one that requires the humility of the “player” to realize he is not good enough and can never be – left to himself.
As a minister of the Gospel I am striving to bring people to the point of realizing they don’t measure up and need Christ’s finished work! I have to deliver a piece of humble pie. Unfortunately many will let pride stop them from accepting the Substitute.
If you are relying on your ability to earn the Coach’s favor I urge you to not be like Carmelo – “come out of the game” – accept the Sub!
For those of you that have accepted Christ: be true to the Gospel of “by grace through faith” that calls people to surrender self. It is all about JESUS and what He has done for us!