For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God. Ephesians 2:8
History tells the story of an attempted assassination of the first Queen Elizabeth.
A woman who sought to kill the queen hid herself in the queen's boudoir, awaiting that moment when she would be able to stab the queen to death. Without great understanding of palace protocol, the woman didn't realize it was the duty of the queen's attendants to carefully search the rooms before her majesty was permitted to retire.
Found hidden among the furniture, the would-be assassin was disarmed and brought before the queen for punishment. Realizing the hopelessness of her situation, the woman fell to her knees and begged the queen to have compassion on her, to spare her life.
To make a long story short, an incredible thing happened as the queen, having considered the situation most carefully, eventually looked her enemy in the face and said, "I do pardon you ... out of my grace." That well might have been the end of the story.
To the amazement of everyone, the queen kept her enemy on at court as a servant and, from that moment on, the would-be-assassin became Elizabeth's most faithful and devoted attendant.
Now it would be an easy thing to say, "In many ways that servant's story is ours." Yes, it would be easy, and it would also be true. Although humankind's rebellion and hatred toward the Lord is hardly a hidden, secret thing, it is nevertheless real. In thought, word and deed, we disregard and disobey the Lord who has given us life.
And if anyone thinks it an exaggeration that our loathing to the Lord would be so strong we might commit murder, they only need to look to the events of Holy Week and the cruel cross upon which the life of God's innocent Son was offered as the sacrifice to save us. How much does fallen man despise the Lord? We hated Him enough to lie about Him, to mock Him, to call for His crucifixion, and laugh at Him as He died.
But I said there were differences between Elizabeth's servant and us. So there is. One of those differences is this: while Elizabeth's servant failed in her attempt at murder, we succeeded.
In spite of our success and the great outrage committed against our Maker, the Lord's grace is such that He still forgives and saves those who are brought to Him with Spirit-given faith and a repentant heart. It is an act of grace that is unparalleled in all of human history.
Yes, there are differences between us and Elizabeth's one-time enemy. Perhaps the greatest is this: while Elizabeth's servant had a complete change of heart, so many humans who have seen the Savior's sacrifice continue on just the way they were. In so doing they commit an act which grieves all of heaven and will have eternal consequences for them.
Theirs is an act which calls for God's people to try and reach out and do their best to explain to them: by grace you are saved through faith.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks You have, in Your infinite love, done all that was necessary to save me from myself and my sin. May my response be one of gratitude and thankfulness. In that response may I be joined by all the others whom the Savior desires to rescue. In Jesus' Name I ask it. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries