Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Lent Reflection: Preserved to Persevere In Grace

Date: Saturday, March 13
Title: Preserved to Persevere In Grace
The Bible Passage: Romans 8:18-39

Key Words: “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)

John Bunyan’s classic allegory Pilgrim’s Progress depicted Christian’s spiritual journey from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City. Along the narrow road, he came across a host of temptations and dangers.

We read of how Christian was mired in the Swamp of Despondency, almost deceived by Worldly Wiseman’s advice, deserted by his fickle companion Pliable and wounded in a fight with the dart-throwing monster Apollyon. On other occasions, he was wearied into slumber on the Hill of Difficulty, bribed by Demas’ wealth and thrown into prison by Giant Despair of Doubting castle.

He was also mocked and persecuted after refusing to be enticed by the merchandises at Vanity Fair, the city of sinful pleasures!

Do you recognize some of these challenges along your own spiritual trek to the Celestial City? Ever felt being abandoned lately? Tired of plodding on the road less traveled? Hurt by cruel ridicule or gossip? Knocked down with despair and doubt? Lured away by worldly comforts?

The apostle Paul says, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (v18).

As Christians, we do not wander like aimless vagabonds. Rather, we travel as pilgrims with a destination at heart. Our glorious hope of a renewed creation and resurrected bodies in God’s presence made the present hardships we face pale in comparison.

In the midst of all these obstacles, God works out His sovereign purposes for the good of those who love him. He has begun redemption in foreknowing, predestinating, calling and justifying us that we may be shaped into Christ-likeness. If God is for us, who can be against us?

If He has already done the hard part of giving His own Son to us all, how could He not do the easier bit of preserving us till the finishing line? What could possibly separate us from the love of God?

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (8:37-39)

“Through many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come,
Tis’ Grace has brought me safe thus far, And Grace will lead me home.”
- From the hymn ‘Amazing Grace’

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