I think it is human nature to take things for granted. When things are going well, we often don’t think about how fortunate we are. Even when we go through a difficult time, once that difficulty is gone we become complacent and often times forget what it was like when we went through a tough spell.
Earlier this year I went through a hard time due to some medical issues. It impacted my whole life. I remember thinking at the time that I didn’t appreciate how good I had it before these issues surfaced. Now that those issues have resolved themselves I once again find myself forgetting how great it is to be healthy.
The same thing is true in the spiritual realm. Those of us in the free grace movement are extremely fortunate. The teachings of free grace theology are a blessing from God. We have been exposed to it through the teaching of many great Bible teachers through the years. But how easy it is to forget how good we have it and take these things for granted.
Recently, I preached a sermon in a foreign country. I preached this sermon in a Baptist church. There was a large crowd there and they did not speak English. As a result, I had an interpreter. I was told that the many in the audience were not able to read and so I gave a simple message of eternal life through faith alone in Christ from the Gospel of John. I used the passage on the woman at the well.
After the sermon, I could hear many of the people speaking in their own language. Of course, I could not understand what they were saying. I assumed they were carrying on everyday conversations, just like we do in the United States after church. I could imagine they were talking about what they were going to have for lunch, which teams were going to be playing in the upcoming soccer tournament, etc.
I was surprised, however, when the interpreter came up to me and told me that he thought I would be interested in what the people were saying. During the sermon I pointed out that Jesus had offered the woman at the well eternal life by simply believing in Him for that gift and understanding that He was the One who could give it to her. I ended the sermon by saying Jesus makes the same offer to all of us as well.
That is a message that I have heard thousands of times. But the interpreter told me that the people in the audience were saying that nobody had ever told them that that message was for them. I don’t know if they thought it was only for the people in the Bible, or if they had simply heard a gospel of works their whole lives. But in that Baptist church on the other side of the world I was reminded of how much God has blessed us.
In Colossians 1:13, Paul tells the believers at Colossae that God “has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love.” By faith in Christ we have been taken from darkness and death into light and life. We know we can never lose the life He has given us. It is all because of His love and grace.
For those of us who are exposed to sound biblical teaching it is easy to “forget” what God has done for us because we hear it so often. At the very least, we can fall into the trap of taking it for granted. We need to realize that many people we come into contact with do not have that life and have never believed the message. As we tell them the good news, may we constantly remind ourselves of where we came from and why we are headed to the eternal destiny to which we are going.