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April 4, 2017

Grace That Renews Me

"Though your sins are like scarlet / they shall be white as snow." (Isaiah 1:18) I find myself singing the song based on this Isaiah chapter. "Though they be red, red as crimson." Today, my devotions start with the book of Isaiah. It is a liberating thought to know that all my sins are washed away. His mercy set me free. I continue singing the song that I learned when I was in college. "They shall be white, white as snow." I remember now how hard it was for me to sing this song. Let me reminisce a little bit.

When I was in college, I was greatly involve with campus ministries and student camping activities. I was a leader of our local Inter Varsity Christian Fellowship. Everyone knew I was a good Christian and a promising church speaker for the near future. And yet, in my personal life I was struggling with many difficulties. Without going into detail, I could say it was a low point in my spiritual pilgrimage. I was burdened with low self-image, poorly managing my relationship with my Christian girlfriend, and troubled with family issues. I was bombardened with guilt and shame. And yet this song reminded me of God's grace that renews our lives. "Come now let us reason together, let us reason together says the Lord." I would be sitting on our "veranda," our little porch area in our Project8 house, with my guitar and singing this song. I remembered the tears and the comfort the song brought me, and the truth of God's forgiving grace, cleansing me of all my sins.

Today, I still face many similar issues with sin. But it has lost its power over me. God's grace renews me, everyday. John Wesley says that the same grace that justifies us (brings salvation into our lives) is the same grace that sanctifies us (brings transformation into our lives). I maybe done with college life issues. Perhaps, I am facing more mature concerns, struggles with sin that are real to a person my age. However, the grace that brought me out of bondage, in Charles Wesley's words, "fast bound in sin, and nature's night," is also the same grace that is renewing me, healing me of my imperfections, and transforming my life to the image of our Creator and Savior. Just as the great Wesley hymn says: ’Tis mercy all, immense and free, For, O my God, it found out me! 

On this Lenten Season, remember God's grace and His love that forgives and renews us. "Amazing love! how can it be, That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me."