Sunday, September 26, 2010

Colossians 4:18

Our pastor has spent most of the summer working through the book of Colossians. Taking the book apart piece by piece, looking at individual passages, really digging in. It's been great. This morning was his final day in Colossians. As we sat reading the Scripture that he'd be preaching from today, one particular verse jumped off the page & slapped me in the face. You know how that goes, right? You read something that seems so insignificant in the grand scheme of the passage you're reading, but one little phrase really rips a hole right into your soul. This was that verse.

Colossians 4:18 says "I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you."

It's just one little verse. It's the very last verse at the end of an a tiny 4 chapters long book. Why did that one get me? It wasn't the whole verse. It was the last two sentences that struck a chord in me.

"Remember my chains. Grace be with you."

I think that alone can sum up my entire faith. Everything about my relationship with Jesus is there. Those 7 words really cover it all. Look at it.

Remember: recall, don't forget, keep in mind
my chains: my sins, my mistakes, my faults, my misdeeds
Grace be with you: unmerited love, favor, mercy, kindness; given to me on the Cross by Jesus

While my faith is built on the fact that Jesus died for me & I am made righteous & promised eternity in Heaven with Him because of what He did for me, I believe that it's important that we, as Christians, don't forget where we came from. The depths of darkness our sins created, the anguish our sins caused Him. I know there are some who would say we should focus on who we are now by our place in Christ -- righteous saints, holy ones, chosen people made blameless & pure by Him. And I agree. But if I forget my chains entirely, I tend to want to walk alone & hold myself up. So while my chains are gone & I am FREE, I can still look over my shoulder & see them. And it reminds me again & again to praise HIM for His grace.

All throughout this morning's sermon, I was hearing this song in my head. The lyrics say:

Amazing grace
How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now I'm found
Was blind, but now I see
'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace my fears relieved
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed
My chains are gone
I've been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy rains
Unending love, Amazing grace

The Lord has promised good to me
His word my hope secures
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow
The sun forbear to shine
But God, Who called me here below
Will be forever mine
Will be forever mine
You are forever mine

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