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God’s Grace Makes Some People Worship

August 9, 2019

In my last post, I said that God’s grace will either make you angry or it will lead you to worship and to prayer. Focusing on those who become angry, I talked about Jonah and Romans 9. 

Now, Christians disagree on how we should understand these things, and if you find yourself saying “I don’t see what Colin sees in the Bible,” we can agree to differ. That’s ok. Your eternal future does not hang on this. 

So, then, why am I writing about it? Because I think a great deal of your joy in worship does hang on this. Let God’s grace lead you, not into anger, but into worship. 

Why You Believe 

If you are a Christian, why is it that you believe, and someone else in your family, workplace or group of friends does not? I’m thinking of folks with the same background and the same opportunity.

Do you think it’s because you’re wiser than they are? You might say: “I made a better choice.” But why did you make a better choice? Is it because you are a better person? If it is, you just turned grace into works. 

Here’s why you believe, if you are a Christian: God set His love on you. God’s Holy Spirit awakened you. God drew you to Himself. He redeemed you. He gave you new life from above, and you did nothing to deserve it! Neither did I. That’s grace. 

How Sweet and Awesome is the Place 

Isaac Watts wrote a hymn that describes this: It’s called “‘How Sweet and Awesome is the Place.” It takes up our Lord’s picture of salvation being like great banquet.  

He pictures us as believers, coming into a vast banqueting hall, greater than you can imagine. We see a marvelous feast spread out on tables: 

While all our hearts and all our songs 
‘Join to admire the feast 
Each of us cry, with thankful hearts, 
Lord, why was I a guest? 

Why was I made to Hear thy voice 
And enter while there’s room 
When thousands make a wretched choice 
And rather starve than come. 

‘Twas the same love that spread the feast 
That sweetly drew us in; 
Else we had still refused to taste 
And perished in our sin.[1] 

Apart from God’s grace, you would never have come to Christ and neither would I. Our sinful hearts would have taken us away. We would be outside, like thousands of others, still refusing to come. 

Let God’s grace lead you to worship. Once you get a taste of God’s grace, you will spend the rest of your life coming back to this question: “Why me?” And you will never get a better answer than this: “He has set His love on me!” 

Amazing Grace 

You will start to feel with John Newton that God’s grace is “amazing”: 

Amazing grace how sweet the sound 
that saved a wretch like me. 
I once was lost but now am found 
was blind but now I see. [2] 

If you asked, “What’s so amazing about grace, John?” He’d say “I was lost and God found me! I was blind and God healed me! And why God would do this for me, when thousands live their lives and die their deaths still lost and blind is amazing beyond anything I can imagine or begin to explain!”

I want more of us to see, not just that God makes it possible for us to be saved, but that He saves us! Because that’s what the Bible teaches. 

You may say “Well, this is all very well for the folks who are saved, but what about the folks who are lost?” 

God’s Grace Makes Some People Pray

Isaac Watts ends his hymn by praying that the same grace of God that drew us in, will now draw others to faith in Christ. 

‘Twas the same love that spread the feast 
That sweetly drew us in; 
Else we had still refused to taste 
And perished in our sin. 

Pity the nations, O our God! 
Constrain the earth to come; 
Send thy victorious Word abroad, 
And bring the strangers home.

The reason Watts can pray like that—and the reason you can pray like that—is because he believes God does constrain people to come. God does bring strangers home. 

If all God could do is open the door of salvation and then stand back and leave it up to us, there would be little point in praying for the lost. But when you see in the Bible that God takes the initiative, then you will pray for the lost. 

God’s grace is the greatest incentive I know to pray for the salvation of lost people. He doesn’t just stand by the door and watch. 

God swooped down into my life uninvited, to change my heart so that I began to seek after Him. That’s what he did for you, if you are a Christian.  And He can do that in the lives of other people, including those who, right now, are filled with resentment towards Him. God is able to do this because He is free to do whatever pleases Him. 

God’s grace is amazing: No one is so good as to deserve it. No one is so bad as to be beyond it.

[This article was adapted from Pastor Colin’s sermon, “Resent God’s Providence in Ordering the World,” from his series How to Avoid a God-Centered Life]

Photo Credit: Unsplash

_________

[1] Isaac Watts, How Sweet and Awesome is This Place, 1707 http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/h/s/hsweetaw.htm

[2] John Newton, Amazing Grace, 1779 http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/a/m/a/amazing_grace.htm


The Author
Colin Smith

Colin Smith is the senior pastor of The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. He has authored a number of books, including Heaven, How I Got Here and Heaven, So Near - So Far. Colin is the president and teacher for Unlocking the Bible. Follow him on Twitter.



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