Listen to this devotional:
1 Corinthians 7:23-24 – All of you, slave and free both, were once held hostage in a sinful society. Then a huge sum was paid out for your ransom. So please don't, out of old habit, slip back into being or doing what everyone else tells you. Friends, stay where you were called to be. God is there. Hold the high ground with him at your side. (MSG)
There is a Loan Cupboard in our community, run by the Canadian Legion, and it is full of everything one might need to borrow for a time of recuperation: walkers, crutches, wheelchairs, and so on. There is everything in the Loan Cupboard one could need to achieve independence of movement again, and it is all free, unless one wants to keep it, and then there is a small cost.
As we reflect on all the gifts God has given us, are they on loan depending on how we treat them? Do we want to give them back? Does our Lord ever take them back depending on how they are used? We own nothing here on earth; it is all a loan! The question we need to reflect on is, how have we used God's gifts? Not having had to work to achieve salvation, do we ever acknowledge the great cost involved? The full cost was paid by Jesus Himself on the cross. Salvation is not on loan; it is a free gift to us. Jesus paid it all. As Paul reminded the quarrelling Corinthian Christians, "A huge sum was paid out for your ransom."
I have been wondering if this wonderful relationship with God through Christ, so full of God's gifts, depends somehow on our use of them. Is it possible to lose our salvation through our behaviour? Perish the thought! But this is truly our struggle, as we reflect on our response to Jesus. Have we let Him down? Does our behaviour negatively affect our salvation? Do we need to keep pleasing God so we can continue in this wonderful relationship? Can we be kicked out of Christ's church?
Surely, we understand that God's grace is freely given us when we confess our sins and open our hearts and lives to the cleansing of the Holy Spirit — or do we? The tendency to try to please God, pastor, and parent is embedded in our consciousness from an early age. We are never free from fear, and the shackles are real, until we place our hearts at the foot of the cross. There the truth dawns: God loves, forgives, and accepts us freely. There is nothing we can do to deserve it. The response asked of us is to love God first, others second, and ourselves last. Which of these three is the hardest? To love oneself! Lord, help us accept Your gift of new life by grace and trust that You will never reject us, but will always love us.
"So please don't, out of old habit, slip back into being or doing what everyone else tells you." Each Christian is a precious son or daughter of God. So, friends, "stay where you were called to be. God is there. Hold the high ground with him at your side". (1 Corinthians 7:24) Yes, we have much to learn about what love is really like. Salvation is never just a loan; it is totally, freely given us. Jesus paid the total cost, and it is a permanent gift.
Prayer: Lord, thank You for staying beside us as we go through each day. We have borrowed much from family and friends, but from You nothing has been borrowed, for it is all freely ours by grace. We are humbled to be the recipients of so much. Help us, O Lord, to hold the high ground today. Humbly we acknowledge that a huge sum was paid for our ransom. May we be filled with awe and wonder as we receive Your gifts. How can we thank You enough? We can only respond adequately by giving You our hearts. Amen.