Posted: November 10th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Articles

Our English word “maturity” comes from a Latin word that means “ripe” and is used to describe something that is fully developed or grown. It is used of fruit, plants, animals, and man. It may describe a man’s intellect, his moral, his physical, or his character development. Some folks are mature in one area of growth and immature in others. Fully mature people are well-rounded in all aspects of being.

Maturity in the New Testament is usually described by either the term “full-grown” or “perfect.” James speaks of brethren who are “perfect and entire, lacking in nothing” (1:2-4). Paul writes of a Christian becoming a “full-grown man” who measures up to the fullness of the stature of Christ (Eph 4:13).

The words “full-grown” and “perfect” come from the same Greek word (teleios), which denotes a projected end or goal. God, in other words, has designed a quality of life for His people, and the mature, perfect, full-grown Christian is one who has grown and developed until he has reached that goal.

Reaching maturity is not just a nice idea. It is essential to what Christians are called to be. This was evident in the church at Corinth. They were divided into several warring sects because they lacked maturity. Paul wrote to identify this problem, its flaws, and to provoke correction (see 1 Cor 1:10-13; 3:1-4). We cannot avoid these problems unless we grow up in Christ.

Maturity/Knowledge.Maturity in Christ begins with growth in knowledge. Those who do not mature in knowledge can expect to be “tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, in craftiness, after the wiles of error” (Eph 4:14). Full-grown men exercise their senses to learn and discern between good and evil (Heb 5:14). Without maturity in knowledge troublemakers arise, many are deceived, and division or parties result (see 1 Tim 1:3, 18-20).

Maturity/Character. Knowledge, however, is not equivalent to character. Knowledge sustains the same relationship to character as eating does to nourishment. Eating is the act of ingesting food into the body and does not of itself guarantee that the nutrition of the food will be assimilated into the cells, parts, and organs of the body. So it is with knowledge. Inculcating knowledge into one’s mind and understanding is no assurance that the principles of truth will be incorporated into one’s person. It is one thing to know the truth and another to be “nourished In the words of faith” (1 Tim 4:6).

Division also occurs in the church when brethren fail to grow up spiritually and, as a result, lack the character of Jesus. Paul, for example, could not write unto the Corinthians as “unto spiritual” but as “unto carnal, as unto babes in Christ” (1 Cor 3:1). These brethren had not assimilated qualities of love, patience, self-control, humility, meekness—several of many character traits that bind brethren together even when they have differences.

The church at no time has been totally free from division that results from a lack of knowledge, understanding, or appreciation of authority. Brethren often without understanding and in the absence of authority push and push their views until the church divides. Maturity in knowledge would eliminate division and the heartache it causes.

But neither has the church at any time fully escaped division produced by immaturity of character and the carnal spirit. Strong-willed brethren over matters of judgment will pick and pick at one another until feelings are hurt, relations are strained, and they cease to speak to one another. Before it is over they talk to others, build up followers, and create parties. Maturity in character eliminates biting and devouring one another and the alienation and destruction that follow.

Maturity is not an option, brethren. It is authorized and demanded both in knowledge and character. When babes in Christ do not grow up, trouble and division follow.

-L. A.


Doing Our Part

Posted: November 10th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Articles

Harold Holzer’s book Dear Mr. Lincoln: Letters to the President contains an interesting response from Abraham Lincoln to a letter sent to him by Major General David Hunter. Hunter declared himself “mortified, humiliated, insulted and disgraced” because he had been given a small command in Kansas when mere brigadiers were leading larger armies elsewhere. Lincoln responded in characteristic patience: “I… am sincerely your friend; and if, as such, I dare to make a suggestion, I would say you are adopting the best possible way to ruin yourself. ‘Act well your part, there all the honor lies.’ He who does something at the head of one Regiment, will eclipse him who does nothing at the head of a hundred.”

The Apostle John called it “the pride of life” and it has reared its ugly head time and again in the course of human affairs.

Adam and Eve partook of forbidden fruit because they thought God was holding something back that they deserved. “I have my rights” has been the undoing of too many to count.

The Tower of Babel was the scene of pitiful little man trying to climb into the “Big League,” God’s League. “We deserve to be recognized” they cried, though as it turned out, in several different tongues that none of the rest of them knew.

The Corinthians thought “tongue-speaking” was the cat’s meow and if you didn’t possess this gift then you were second-rate. That is, until the Apostle Paul got hold of them and reminded them that love is the greatest gift, and that God placed the parts in the body where God wanted them to be and that all parts were necessary to the properly functioning body. Imagine, he says, a body without ears, or eyes, or nose, or limbs. I have a feeling that the fellow who has lost one of these knows rather acutely how valuable they are. Now humbled, having taken a lowly ear or thumb for granted, he would give all his money to have them back. What a sorry thing pride is!

How much like General Hunter we all are. We deserve more recognition; a bigger piece of the pie. And if we don’t get it, then we start hating the one who has it, like Cain did Abel and Saul, David. Paul’s admonition is true (not only for possessions): “I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content” (Php4:11).

Would that we could learn to be content with who and what we are. Would that we learn the secret to happiness by being the best we can possibly be without envying others whose talents range in levels far above ours. Would that we could learn to praise God for their talent and not believe we are diminished because someone else soars higher and farther than we do. Would that we could learn the simple and profound truth: “Act well your part, there all the honor lies.”

It is God who forms the body just as He pleases (cf. 1 Cor 12:18, 24, 28). Will we take up this arrogant, self-centered complaint with God? Do you suppose His answer might be to show us the nail prints in His hands and feet (cf. Php 2:1-11)? Maybe a thumb isn’t as glorious as the eye or mouth, but try functioning without a thumb to see how greatly its value increases in our mind.

It was because one lowly colonel held his regiment fast on the extreme right of the Union line that Gettysburg didn’t become a cataclysmic Federal defeat leading to a far different outcome of the Civil War. It was not General Meade who stopped the South at Little Round Top on June 2, 1863, but an unknown colonel named Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain. One hill; one regiment; one man’s dogged determination to hold it at all cost. It was not McClellan that went on to glory, but Grant, because one would fight and the other would not.

Do you suppose the Lord may say to us in the Day of Judgment: “He who did something at the head of one Regiment far eclipsed him who did nothing at the head of a hundred.” Sounds like the Parable of the Talents, doesn’t it? The captain of ten must hold his place in the line if the captain of a thousand is ever to receive his due.

It is the best advice — life-changing, malcontent-shattering advice: “Do your part well, for there all honor lies.”

-Chuck Durham


Are You Too Busy?

Posted: November 10th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Articles

We live in busy times. Most of us with children at home find ourselves coming and going all the time. The calendar is full of activities. There is very little “down time” or quiet time. Our busy schedules often keep some of us from helping out in the kingdom. For instance, the elders may ask a man to consider serving as a deacon. Without even thinking about the great service that he could render, the person declines saying, “I can’t right now, I’m just too busy.” Or, someone is asked to teach a Bible class. The opportunity is turned down because the person is too busy.

Being “too busy” can be an easy excuse for simply not stepping up and doing what we should. Saying “I’m too busy,” sounds so much better than saying, “No, I just don’t want to.” Being busy is assumed to be the banner of a successful parent. Being busy means you are not lazy, bored, or dull. We are just busy people.

But have you ever considered that Moses was busy tending his flock when God called him to lead Israel. Gideon was busy threshing wheat when God called him to service. David was busy caring for his father’s sheep when God appointed him king. Nehemiah was busy serving the king when he decided to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Peter and John were busy fishing when Jesus called them to follow him. God never used the lazy or idle. He goes to those who are already at work and busy.

It takes time to teach a class ,or open your home to hospitality, or to write a card of encouragement, or have a home Bible study, or to serve as an elder or deacon. Those that are busy doing those things have families, jobs, hobbies, and commitments just like everyone else. In fact, you will find those that are very busy in the kingdom have to fight time commitments, juggle their schedules, sometimes miss activities they’d like to go to just like everyone else. There are times they would like to just lay on the couch and watch TV. There are times when they get stressed because they feel pulled in more than one direction. But they have found some things that others fail to see.

They have found that being busy in the kingdom is worth the sacrifice they must make. They are making a difference and what they are doing is a good work.

They have found that making time for kingdom work teaches their children a valuable lesson. You don’t do everything you want to do first and then if you have any extra time, find something to do for God. You make time for God. You work your schedule to include God. You make time for the work of the Lord. The Lord found time to die on the cross for us. The Lord finds time to bless us and answer our prayers.

There are many busy folks in the kingdom. You are making a difference and we are thankful for that. Being busy is not an excuse for not doing what God wants of us.

-Roger Shouse


The Man Who Lost His Job

Posted: November 3rd, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Articles

Henry Walker was about to lose his job. Why? Well, he simply didn’t seem to take his work very seriously. He often seemed distracted on the job. You could tell his heart wasn’t really in it. It was not uncommon to find him falling asleep at his desk because he had stayed up too late the night before.

Henry was often a no-show at company meetings. Even when he did show up, you could count on him being at least a few minutes late. The meeting leader would sometimes pause and try to catch him up on what they were discussing, but he rarely participated anyway.

Henry would commonly show up to the office wearing jeans and a T-shirt. He didn’t put forth much effort to keep his desk clean or organized. Its appearance was a testament to the way he approached all of his work. You could count on him to put forth just enough effort to get by.

His boss had approached him about it before. But when accused of not taking pride in his work, Henry was deeply offended. He protested, maintaining that work was the most important part of his life. Yet, over the next few weeks nothing changed. He still came in late, did the bare minimum, treated his work space like an old tool shed, and dressed like he was preparing to do yard work. Despite Henry’s claims, it was clear that he didn’t place much importance on his work. He was hurting the company more than he was helping it.

Have you figured out what we’re talking about yet? This article is not about how you conduct yourself as an employee. The way Henry Walker treated his job is unfortunately the way many Christians approach their work in the Lord’s church.

We often appear distracted and half-hearted in our worship. We stay up late Saturday night and consequently have a hard time paying attention on Sunday morning. Our attendance is sporadic. When we do show up it can be expected that we will be 4 or 5 minutes late. Our kids come into the middle of Bible class and disrupt the lesson that everyone else has already started.

Though we dress our best for graduations, weddings, and funerals, our apparel would indicate the assemblies of the church are of far less importance. We take poor care of the church building, while our houses are clean, organized, and up to date. We are not pursuing excellence in our work and worship, but simply trying to maintain the status quo.

But the second someone suggests we aren’t giving the work of the Lord its proper priority in our lives we become highly offended. If we can see the concept in the office, why can’t we see it within the church? Let us honestly evaluate the way we are conducting ourselves in the Lord’s employment. Do we take His work seriously?



Send Those Grudges Away

Posted: November 3rd, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Articles

One of the New Testament words for “forgiveness” (aphiemi) literally means “to send away” and means to “dismiss,” or “leave behind.” It is used in its literal sense by Jesus when he “sent the multitude away” (NKJV) after a long day of teaching parables by the sea. And this is precisely what Christians need to do when they are offended by their husband, their wife, their child, a brother/sister in Christ, their boss—whoever! We must dismiss hurts, bitterness, anger, revenge from our hearts by forgiving those who sin against us (see Matt 18:15-21; Eph 4:31-32). Grudges are a detriment both to us and to those whom we resent.

The classic example of the havoc an unforgiving spirit can inflict is Herodias, the adulterous wife of Herod Antipas. She had left her husband Philip and married Antipas, Philip’s brother. This was a clear violation of the Mosaic law that said: “Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy brother’s wife” (Lev 18:16). John the Baptist, a stalwart and dedicated prophet, learned of this sinful relationship and said plainly, as he was accustomed to do, “It is not lawful for thee to have her” (Matt 14:4; see Mark 6:14-19).

Herodias was offended by what John said and demanded that Herod imprison him. The more she thought about John’s insulting remark the more “she set herself against him” (Mark 6:19). “Set herself against him” comes from a phrase that means “to hold in her” and reveals the ill-will and bitterness she harbored toward God’s straightforward wilderness preacher. She could not “dismiss” or “send away” her feeling about John, and in time wanted him dead.

As with so many who hold onto bitterness, there comes, as in Herodias’ case, “a convenient day”—an expression that means a “good time” or “opportune moment.” That day came for Herodias when her daughter danced at Herod’s birthday party before him and all the important leaders of his province. Herod, in a drunken stupor or passionate lust, promised the young girl any reward—up to half of his kingdom. After consulting with her embittered mother, Herodias, the compliant daughter returned to King Herod and asked on behalf of her corrupt mother for—“the head of John the Baptist” on a platter. The king, an admirer of John the Baptist for his “just” and “holy” ways, for the sake of his oath witnessed by so many of his leaders granted the request with great sorrow.

Extreme case? Far out example? Surely!! Seldom do our grudges lead to such serious consequences—physically. Unwillingness to forgive, however, often reaps retaliatory results that benefit neither us nor our enemies. It robs us of the peace, the joy, the rest, the contentment that God our Father produces by His Spirit in the honest and good hearts of His sons and daughters (Gal 5:22-23). Brethren, there is no reason for us to be sullen, miserable, hateful, unhappy wretches. We must learn to send away, dismiss, leave behind all “bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and railing…and be…kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, even as God also in Christ Jesus forgave you” (Eph 4:31-32).

Becoming “miserable wretches,” brethren, is not the most serious consequence of refusing to forgive. Failure to forgive and resolve our grudges not only destroys peace of mind, but it eats away our spirituality, interferes with our personal relationship with God, and stymies our prayer-life. How can we pray, “and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Matt 6:12)? And, added to all this, is our eternal ruin. When we refuse to forgive one another, God refuses to forgive us. And what sentence does that leave us before God’s eternal throne? “Depart from me!” (see Matt 7:23; Matt 25:41).

Read carefully Matt 6:14-15: “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Wow! That’s serious, brethren!!

-L. A.


Loaves, Fish, Pizza, Sub Sandwiches

Posted: October 27th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Articles

Occasionally, we need to remind God’s people and the world about “who” saves man and by “what” man is saved. To do that we point to the feeding of the 5000 by Jesus and the important lesson He taught that day.

Jesus had withdrawn that day to the mountains where he sat with His disciples. Crowds had been following him because of the miracles they had witnessed. They followed him in search of further signs and it was time for them to learn an important truth about miracles.

To do this, Jesus prepared to feed the multitudes that followed Him and questioned the disciples about food to eat. Two hundred shillings was all the money the disciples had and a lad who was in the crowd had only five loaves and two fish. Clearly this wouldn’t go very far in feeding 1000s of people. Jesus, nonetheless, called for the meagre amount of food the lad had, multiplied it, distributed it among the people, and all had plenty to eat. And it took twelve baskets to hold the scraps left over. This, obviously, was a miracle (see John 6:1-14).

But why did Jesus do this? To demonstrate who He is: the Son of God (see John 20:30-31). But He did it for another reason. It provided an opportunity to teach the multitudes who were seeking to make Him king so He could ever provide for their material needs. And, they likely thought, anyone who can do this can also as king deliver them from the dominion of Rome.

But Jesus knew their thoughts and rebuked them: “Ye seek me, not because ye saw signs, but because you ate loaves, and were filled” (John 6:26). He, in further rebuke, admonished them: “Work not for bread that perishes, but for food which abides unto eternal life, which the Son of man shall give unto you” (John 6:27).

Jesus then explained further that He is the “bread of life” who “came down out of heaven” and that “if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever” (John 6:35). But this meant that a man must be “taught of God”—he must hear and learn the message of the gospel that the Father would reveal through the Holy Spirit (see John 6:44-45; Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:38). They did not want to hear this. They were following Jesus because they ate of the loaves and were filled” (John 6:26). They were hardened by the demand to come to Jesus by further teaching from the Father about the bread of life.

Reading the discourse Jesus delivered that day, we need not wonder what He would say today if he visited churches that rig up TV monitors for Super Bowl Sunday evening services and serve “pizza and sub sandwiches”; and then at half time “accompanied by two electric guitars, sing and clap to religious hymns.” This actually happened at a denomination in St. Peters, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, several years back. If anything, these practices have gotten more prominent with the increasing demand on churches to compete for “crowds” and “members.”

When will students of God’s word get the point? Jesus is Savior and His gospel is the power to save (see Matt 1:21; Luke 2:10-11; Rom 1:16). To dilute the gospel with the addition of traditions, commandments, and secular attractions of men is to destroy its power to save—to make it void and empty of the good news of salvation through Christ and the teaching of the gospel (Matt 15:6; Col 2:8). Loaves and fish, as Jesus makes clear, are incompatible with the His goal as king and with the nature of His kingdom which is not of this world (see John 18:36; Luke 17:20-21; Rom 14:17).

What Jesus said of “loaves and fish” then, He would say today of “pizza and sub sandwiches.” And in all likelihood these so-called disciples and churches would, as the Jews then, find His rebuke a “hard saying” and refuse to follow Him (John 6:60, 66).

-L. A.


Evangelism Report – October 2014

Posted: October 27th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Articles

“Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest” (John 4:35).

Do we see the world the way Jesus sees it? As wickedness and immorality seem to be ever growing in society, many are more aware of their need for salvation. The moral decline of our nation is not always a sign that the soil is hard, but that the harvest is ripe.

The Lord has been blessing us this last month with many opportunities in the evangelistic field. The harvest is plentiful and in time we trust that God will give the increase.

We have already conducted 3 meetup group Bible studies so far this month. There have been 3 visitors in these studies, some of which have attended more than once. I have had one personal study arise from these efforts already and hope to have more as we get more return visitors. We also made one contact who observed us studying and approached to find out what it was all about.

Our online meetup group has increased to 17 members, 10 of which are evangelistic contacts. We are hopeful that some of these individuals will attend our studies in the future.

Please continue to pray for this effort. If you have not joined the group online, please go to and make an account. If you are able to attend any of the studies, we would appreciate your support. Our next study will be at 7pm this Tuesday at West County Mall food court. We’ll be discussing Ephesians 2.

In the future, we hope to expand to more studies throughout the St Louis area. The more members on board, the more successful this effort can be.

In addition to these group studies, I have continued to teach personal studies. I still have weekly and monthly studies with previous contacts. I have also had studies with 2 new individuals this past month. The list of contacts for potential studies continues to get longer and longer as well. Visitors to our assemblies, meetup contacts, and previous friends and acquaintances of the Christians here are quickly multiplying our harvest for the Lord. Many laborers are needed.

As you develop relationships with co-workers, neighbors, and friends, don’t neglect to share the most important part of your life with them. You don’t have to feel awkward, like you are trying to sell them something they don’t really want. If you truly believe in the power of the gospel and have seen it work in your own life, it’s only natural that you should bring it up in conversation. The sincerity and genuineness of your faith will give you credibility in sharing the gospel.

Don’t be afraid to ask someone if they would be interested in studying the Bible. You never know until you ask. Better to ask and for them to say no, than to have never asked at all.

And you don’t have to offer to teach. Offer to share in a mutual study of God’s word with them. Read it together and let God’s word do the teaching. If you need help on how to structure your study or where to start, L. A. and I would be glad to assist you in any way we can. We are here to equip you for the Lord’s work (Eph 4:11-12).

“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest” (Matt 9:37-38).


Next month I hope to have more updates to offer regarding our evangelism videos and other efforts


Stars Still Shine

Posted: October 27th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Articles

Someone wrote: “Two men were walking along a country road one evening. One was bewailing world conditions. Everything was wrong — civilization was being swept away, religion was defeated, there was no future but darkness. When the speaker paused for breath, his friend pointed to the sky and commented, ‘The stars still shine’.”

In this age of scientific discovery, nuclear fission, etc., accompanied by man’s craze for recognition and power, human society seems to be balanced on a powder keg. Scientific minds admit the possibility of a war that could wipe out most of the populace and set the rest back many decades. In addition to this, the economic situation is highly unstable. With the world becoming more wicked daily, potential dangers of various kinds are mounting. In view of it all, the human mind is highly disturbed. Fear, perplexity, anxiety and distrust are mounting on every hand. Even in the church there is unrest. Faithfulness to the Lord’s standard is made more trying by the lowering of the moral standards of world society and a pulpit policy that fails to properly indoctrinate the immersed in the fundamentals of New Testament Christianity.

Yet, “the stars still shine,” and the Lord is still with His own. His message to the Christian says: “Be ye free from the love of money; content with such things as ye have: for Himself hath said, I will in no wise fail thee, neither will I in any wise forsake thee. So that with good courage we say: The Lord is my helper; I will not fear: What shall man do unto me?” (Heb 13:5).

Even in this present life, our blessings far exceed our understanding; and it behooves us to “be ye thankful” (Col 3:15) instead of dwelling upon the unpleasant potentialities of tomorrow. Much of man’s sorrow stems from his trust in material and temporal things. We can never find true and lasting security until we look to the right source; and when we do this, the things over which men worry so much will become less important to us. To the Christian – the baptized believer whose trust is in God and His Son and message – the important thing is not what he has done upon the earth, but what his state will be when the elements have melted with fervent heat. For, as Paul wrote: “. . . we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Cor 4:18). As the stars in the heaven continue to shine, though the world is troubled, neither our earthly sorrows nor the removal of earth and the stars can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus, while we remain faithful to Him.

-R. L. Hester

Eagles In A Storm

Posted: October 21st, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Articles

Did you know that an eagle knows when a storm is approaching long before it breaks? The eagle will fly to some high spot and wait for the winds to come. When the storm hits, it sets its wings so that the wind will pick it up and lift it above the storm. While the storm rages below, the eagle is soaring above it.

The eagle does not escape the storm. It simply uses the storm to lift it higher. It rises on the winds that bring the storm. When the storms of life come upon us, and all of us will experience them, we can rise above them by setting our minds and our belief toward God.

The storms do not have to overcome us. We can allow God’s power to lift us above them. God enables us to ride the winds of the storm that bring sickness, tragedy, failure and disappointment in our lives. We can soar above the storm.

The wise man wrote, “When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, a man cannot discover anything about his future” (Eccl 7:14). Solomon fairly well summarized life. There are good and bad days that attend our lives. Make the best of both. When things go well, rejoice and praise God; when they go wrong, and adversity attacks the soul, rest on the assurance that God is there and he cares.

His goodness is shown in the providential help he offers in time of need. “Let us therefore draw near with boldness unto the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy, and may find grace to help (us) in time of need” (Heb 4:16).

Remember, it is not the burdens of life that weigh us down, it is how we handle them. The Bible says, “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles.” (Is 40:31)



The Greatest Story Ever Told

Posted: October 21st, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Articles

Wait a second! Before you start reading, open your Bibles to Ephesians 1. Do you have it in front of you? …Okay, you may continue.

Eph 1:3-14 tells us of the masterful story written by our Lord that has been and continues to be played out upon the stage of time. A story of how He has provided abundant spiritual blessings to those in Christ (v. 3). How has accomplished this? Well, this story has three acts… what we might call the building action, climax, and resolution. Each of these sections is divided out for us by the phrase, “to the praise of His glory” or “…the glory of His grace” (vv. 6, 12, 14).

In this story’s plot, first we have the building action (vv. 4-6). Even before the world was established and time began, God had a plan. In His foreknowledge, God designed a way in which He could adopt us, make us holy and blameless in His sight, and set us apart as His own chosen people. His plan of salvation was not an afterthought. He created us knowing full well that a day would come when He would have to save us from the destruction of our disobedience.

Why did He still choose to go through with it? First of all, because He loved us (vv. 4-5). Yes, He loved us even before we were created. And nothing would make Him happier than to have us as His children. It was the “good pleasure” or “kind intention of His will” (v. 5). But beyond that, it was for “the praise of the glory of His grace” (v. 6). It was so that, through us, His grace might be illustrated, magnified, and glorified. It was so that we would “bless” Him in return (v. 3).

Next, we have the climax (vv. 7-12). Slowly, but surely, God began putting His plan into action. For a long time it was a mystery how God was going to make us holy and blameless. How could He adopt us as His children if we were still in bondage to sin? He gave us glimpses of His plan throughout history until finally, at just the right time, He removed the curtain and tied up all the loose ends in an amazing climax—Christ! (vv. 8-10)

Out of all the abundant riches of God’s grace He took the most treasured possession of all, His only Son, to pay the price for our sins. He purchased us out of slavery by Jesus’ blood and invited us to be His children. And now, as members of His household, we have access to an abundant inheritance in Christ.

Why did He do it? So that as His thankful children, we would not cease to praise His glorious nature and magnify His name.

Finally, we have the resolution (vv. 13-14). We belong to Him now, but we have a journey to complete before we can be welcomed into our eternal home. In the meantime God has given us the Holy Spirit as His mark of ownership. Just as a groom signifies his promise through an engagement ring, we have a pledge of His devotion. However, our wedding date and final inauguration into His family is yet to come. While we wait, we hold fast to the promise He has given by walking in the Spirit.

Why did He give us such a magnificent proposal and pledge? So that everyone can see how much He loves us. A plastic ring from a vending machine could have done the job, but He wants everyone to know how much He values us. From the treasure store of His grace he selected the Holy Spirit itself to give us, unto the praise of His glorious love.

What an amazing story! And to think that we are able to be a central part of it! “See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God!” (1 John 3:1). What a glorious God we serve! He is worthy of all praise and honor! Stand in awe of His wondrous grace! Bless His holy name!