- Reflections
Story by Debra K. Matthews

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Welcome! This story is about the good news of unearned favor -- the gospel of grace, that God made a way for us to come to Him and receive His forgiveness and cleansing. It's not by our own efforts, but by His mercy and love for all of us.

Good News of Unearned Favor
Copyright © 2018 by Debra K. Matthews. All rights reserved

Have you ever wondered how you can come to know God, when you're down here on this earth, and He seems so far away in heaven? Do you wonder if you can do enough good deeds to earn His love and forgiveness? The good news is, God Himself made a way for you and I to come to Him and receive total forgiveness of our sins. He made a way for us to come to Him in prayer and He will hear us. It's called "The Gospel of Grace". The word 'gospel' means 'good news' and the word 'grace' means 'unmerited favor'. It's wonderful news that even though we're always blowing it down here on earth, God loves us and wants us to be His children. He wants to have fellowship with us. He wants us to be part of His family.

The Bible says that God used to come walk in the Garden of Eden in the cool of the day and fellowship with Adam and Eve. They lived in sinless perfection. But there was one test to stay in that fellowship. They were told to not eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. You could call it a test to see if they would love and trust God enough to obey Him, because He knew what was best for them. God knew that if they fell, sin would make them unable to stand in His bright holy light. God is all powerful. Imagine trying to hug the sun that is in the heavens. Something about sinning cuts us off from His sinless perfection. We can't stand in His presence anymore without help.

The Bible says 'for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God' (Romans 3:23) and 'the wages of sin is death: but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord' (Romans 6:23). When Adam and Eve committed high treason in the Garden of Eden, they could no longer be in God's presence. To protect them from being in that fallen state and eating from the tree of life in their fallen state and being forever condemned in that state, He sent them out of the garden until the time to send Jesus.

God didn't want them to be lost. He made a temporary way to pay for their sins until the time when He would send His Son Jesus to pay the ultimate price. We didn't deserve Jesus dying in our place on the cross, but God loved us so much, He was willing to pay the price for our sins Himself. At the right time, the Father sent His Son Jesus to the earth, born as a baby, growing up under the old covenant law, and then first being beaten for our sins, then nailed to the cross to die in our place. The Bible says He went to hell and suffered our punishment for us, and on the third day, when the debt was paid for all mankind for all time, Jesus rose from the dead and offers us the free gift of salvation and a new life.

So, what is the "Good News of Unmerited Favor"? The wonderful good news is that you can pray and ask Jesus to forgive your sins and come into your life. Jesus wants you to have a full, abundant, meaningful life here on earth, and then, when your physical body finally dies, your spirit and soul immediately go to be with the Lord in heaven.

To ask Jesus into your heart, pray this prayer:

Heavenly Father, I come to you in the name of Jesus. The Bible says, "Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Acts 2:21). I am calling on you. I pray and ask Jesus to come into my heart and be Lord over my life. In Romans 10:9-10, you said "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." I do that now. I confess that Jesus is Lord, and I believe in my heart that God raised Him from the dead. Thank you for saving me. Help me live for you from this day forth. Amen."

To grow stronger in the Lord, follow this advice Billy Graham taught us:

1. Read your Bible every day to get to know the Lord better.
2. Talk to God in prayer every day.
3. Tell others about Christ.
4. Worship, fellowship, and serve with other Christians in a church where Christ is preached.
5. As Christ's representative in a needy world, demonstrate your new life by your love and concern for others.

God bless you in your new walk with Him.


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