The Beautiful Spectrum of Grace
Twelve people entered the waters of baptism last weekend at Evergreen Bible Church. It’s a number uniquely reminiscent of God’s redemptive work, like the 12 tribes of Israel or the 12 apostles.
As I heard the stories of new birth, I became keenly aware God’s hand was no less powerful in these saints than he was with the patriarchs or disciples of old. Testimony after testimony extolled the gracious power of the Almighty in rescuing them from the dominion of darkness and bringing them into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:13-14)
And what a spectrum! Good luck stereotyping this bunch. A boy who in only nine years already knows he is a sinner in need of a Savior and accepts Jesus with genuine child faith. A grandmother went looking for God late in life, was providentially steered away from false teaching and was led to a Baptist church in Gresham where she heard the good news of Jesus. A high school graduate on his way to college in the fall testified that his identity in Christ is what he wants everyone to know about him in this critical season where so many lose their way. A husband and father recognized that following Jesus is the primary prerequisite for being the leader his family needs. A mother of two was rescued from a cult. A single man was rescued from indifference.
On and on it went; men and women, married and single, young, old and everything in between. Surely this was Jesus’ parable coming to life. “Then the owner of the house …ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’ “‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’ “Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full.'” (Luke 14:21–23)
Life is hard, and there are problems everywhere we look, including the mirror. But the Master is filling his house in our midst.