March 22, 2009

Transformation-extravagant Grace

2 Timothy 1:8-12

Grace … has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 1:9-10


I became transfixed with the transforming power of grace while watching the movie Les Miserables. Jean Valjean was arrested for stealing a loaf of bread. Finally released after 19 years in prison, he couldn’t find a place to stay until a bishop graciously offered him lodging. But then Valjean stole some silver from the bishop’s home and fled. Captured the next day, he was brought back to the bishop. But instead of accusing him, the bishop said he had given Valjean the silver, and then he also gave Valjean two silver candlesticks. Overwhelmed with the extravagance of grace, Valjean’s priorities changed. He surrendered his life to God and worked to help others.

E. Stanley Jones once remarked, “Grace binds you with far stronger cords than the cords of duty or obligation.” That rings true in my life. I remember renewing my commitment to ministry at a Promise Keepers conference. At one point in the weekend, pastors were summoned to the middle of the stadium. The crowd of 65,000 broke into applause that continued for at least 10 minutes. What an unbelievable motivation I felt! I fell to my knees and promised God that I would contribute my very best for him and the church.

God’s extravagant grace was present before the beginning of time, has been revealed in Jesus, and continues for eternity. Let God’s grace overwhelm you today.

Father, focus our eyes on your extravagant grace. May we become spellbound with the mercy of Jesus Christ so that we offer ourselves totally to your service. Amen.

About the author — Dean Deppe

Dean Deppe has been a pastor in inner-city, suburban, and rural ­churches. Currently he teaches New Testament theology at Calvin Theological Seminary. His courses include one on the parables of Jesus. He and his wife have four grown children.

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