There is a word which the Apostle Paul uses that is packed with incomprehensible meaning. The word is used in Romans 8:32, “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” The Greek word is translated with two words in English, “freely give”. It is defined in Strong’s Concordance this way, “to grant as a favor, i.e. gratuitously, in kindness, pardon or rescue-deliver, (frankly) forgive, (freely) give, grant.” As we read in the verse above we understand the Father’s indescribable gift of His Son was freely given.
What Was Church Like In Those Early Days?
It was an act of grace, undeserved favor from a loving God, to sinners and enemies who deserved eternal separation and punishment because of our sin. It was a merciful act as well. God, the Father, delivered His Son, to die for the payment of our sin. The Father withheld His wrath, which we deserved, and placed it on His Son, so that His holiness would be satisfied. The cross was the perfect picture of other centered love, unconditional love, pure love, unrequited love and it is the love that the Triune God exemplifies for us. John wrote in his first epistle, “God is love” (1 John 4:8).
In Ephesians 2:1-3, Paul wrote, “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.” What would it be like if God had spared His Son and not delivered Him over for us all? Would you please ponder that thought right now where you are?
Having done that, read the next two words especially. “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly [places] in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, [it is] the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. (vvs. 4-10). Look at what we were (dead in sin), BUT GOD, and now we are (seated with Him).
What Is House Church?
What emotion comes to your heart when you meditate on that thought? Don’t you want to give Him your all? Holding nothing back because He held nothing back? “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:3). Wouldn’t you give your life for your wife, your child, your parents, your best friend? After reading what God the Father did to demonstrate His love for us and the self sacrifice that Jesus gave for us, do you consider Jesus as your friend? Are you willing to give your life for Jesus? Paul exhorts us “to present our bodies a living and holy sacrifice,” having reflected on the mercies of God. I am urging you as well.
Returning to the first paragraph about the “freely give” translation, the same Greek word is used by Paul in Philippians 1:29-30, “For to you it has been granted (freely given) for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, experiencing the same conflict which you saw in me, and now hear [to be] in me.” Paul says that to suffer for Christ’s sake is a gracious gift just as the Father’s gracious gift of His Son and the ability to believe for the gift of salvation. It is a gratuitous gift, a privilege to suffer for Christ’s sake. Won’t you join with me in asking the Holy Spirit to empower us to be willing to suffer for Him as He did for us?
Bill Olsen, Elder