Elaine and I first went to Honduras in 1988. Honduras has changed a great deal since that time. On one of our visits we stayed in the Hotel de Plaza which was very near the center of the old town area. It was a hotel where for breakfast one morning a roach was poured into Elaine’s cereal bowl along with the rest of the frosted flakes. It was the same hotel where you could push the elevator button for floor 4 and wind-up in the basement. It was an adventure! At that time we felt more comfortable walking the streets and seeing the sights of a third world country. There was a plaza (we would call it a town square) where thousands of people gathered daily selling various and sundry items to poor people who had little. I remember walking by and seeing items such as Ray Bann sunglasses and Rolexx watches. Being no dummy, I could tell that these items were at an excellent price. The thought of having a pair of Ray Ban sunglasses and a Rolex excited me, especially on a teacher’s salary. Thankfully Elaine was with me and pointed out that she didn’t think Rolexx was spelled with two x’s.Imitations of the real thing easily passed off at ridiculously cheap prices. They really didn’t have much value at all. They were simply very cheap imitations that would be bought by people who were not paying attention to what they were getting.
When you stop to think about it few things of value are inexpensive. Fewer still are free. There is however one gift, a very important gift that is free. The gift I speak of is that of salvation. Unlike the imitation Rolex, salvation is of infinite value. Yet it is free because, as one old hymn reminds us, “Gone is all my debt of sin, A great change is bro’t within, And to live I now begin, Risen from the fall: yet the debt I did not pay, someone died for me one day, sweeping all the debt away, Jesus paid it all.” All of us our thrilled by knowing Ephesians 2: 8-9 that tells us that we are not going to be able to earn salvation—for we are saved by the grace of God. All that is needed of us is to believe and becoming obedient to His teachings and we will receive the gift of eternal life that God offers (Romans 6:23). It is a paradoxical truth that while salvation is free, its cost was great. One writer simply said; “Forgiveness, which is so easy for us accept, cost the agony at Calvary.” Anyone who teaches something else is simply pushing an imitation of the real thing. “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23.
Prayer Thought: Thank you Lord for the infinite wisdom you have and the gift you have given.
-Discovering God’s Grace-
Romans 5:1-2, what a comfort and joy to read, memorize and know. In verse 1, Paul brings to our attention the idea of “..peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” As you have read through this verse in the past have you thought much about the idea of peace? It was on the eve of the execution of Christian martyr Nicholas Ridley (1500-1555), that his brother offered to stay with him in the prison to be of comfort. Ridley declined, saying that he planned to sleep as soundly as usual. Because he knew the peace of Jesus, he could rest in his Lord. The next morning, Ridley told a fellow Christian who was being executed, “Be of good heart, brother, for God will either assuage the fury of the flame, or else strengthen us to abide it.” Then they knelt and prayed by the stake and, after a brief conversation, were burned to death for their faith. Jesus had given Nicholas Ridley “His peace” (John 14:27), the same peace he gives you and I. We need to remember the peace of Jesus stood every sort of test, every strain, and it never broke. This is the peace that comes from knowing of the grace of God.