July 31, 2010
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith -- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. Ephesians 2:8
When I was on vacation a few years ago, my wife and I toured a mansion in Florida. We noticed, scattered here and there on special artifacts a sign which read this: "Caution! Wash Hands Immediately After Touching!"
Both of us kept our distance.
After the tour, we asked the guard if the items had been treated with some harmful chemical which helps their preservation.
The guard smiled and said, "Not at all. It's just that we never had much luck with the other signs we put up. Those signs read 'Please, do not touch.'"
God would probably see better results in humanity if He labeled our transgressions with this sign: "CAUTION, YOU MUST REPENT IMMEDIATELY AFTER SINNING."
I say He might have better results because He hasn't always had a great deal of success asking people not to sin because they love Him.
Maybe God would have better luck, but He has remained committed to His way of working.
He doesn't want to scare us, or force us into responding to His grace. He believes those people who have seen all He has done for them, who have stood before the manger, seen the cross, and gone into Jesus' empty grave won't be able to restrain themselves from responding with a life of faith and thanksgiving.
As I said, the Lord hasn't always had much luck with people's response to Jesus' sacrifice, but maybe that will change ... today ... with us.
May we rejoice in His great love and His many blessings.
From a devotion originally written for "By the Way"
THE PRAYER: Gracious Father, You don't want to scare anyone into worshipping or thanking You. Far better for us to see the Savior and, filled with Holy Spirit-given faith, respond to Your great grace and mercy. Today may Your wish be fulfilled in me. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries