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Ephesians 2:8-9

God Ran Him Down

In his book Illustrations of Bible Truth, H. A. Ironside included the story of a new convert who gave his testimony during a church service. With a smile on his face and joy in his heart, the man related how he had been delivered from a life of sin. He gave the Lord all the glory, saying nothing about any of his own merits or what he had done to deserve the blessings of redemption.

The person in charge, who was very legalistic, didn’t fully appreciate the reality of salvation by grace through faith alone, apart from human works. So he responded to the young man’s comments by saying, “You seem to indicate that God did everything when He saved you. Didn’t you do your part before God did His?”

The new Christian jumped to his feet and said, “Oh yes, I did. For more than 30 years I ran away from God as fast as my sins could carry me. That was my part. But God took out after me and ran me down. That was His part.” Commenting on this testimony, Ironside wrote, “It was well put and tells a story that every redeemed sinner understands.” - R.W.D.

Our Daily Bread, December 10

Resource

  • Z. Hodges, The Hungry Inherit, p. 33

Red Cross

During the Spanish-American War, Clara Barton was overseeing the work of the Red Cross in Cuba. One day Colonel Theodore Roosevelt came to her, wanted to buy food for his sick and wounded Rough Riders. But she refused to sell him any. Roosevelt was perplexed. His men needed the help and he was prepared to pay out of his own funds. When he asked someone why he could not buy the supplies, he was told, “Colonel, just ask for it!” A smile broke over Roosevelt’s face. Now he understood—the provisions were not for sale. All he had to do was simply ask and they would be given freely.

Our Daily Bread, October 11, 1992

Instant Cake

I read about an instant cake mix that was a big flop. The instructions said all you had to do was add water and bake. The company couldn’t understand why it didn’t sell—until their research discovered that the buying public felt uneasy about a mix that required only water. Apparently people thought it was too easy. So the company altered the formula and changed the directions to call for adding an egg to the mix in addition to the water. The idea worked and sales jumped dramatically.

That story reminds me of how some people react to the plan of salvation. To them it sounds too easy and simple to be true, even though the Bible says, “By grace you have been saved through faith.; it is the gift of God, not of works” (Eph. 2:8-9). They feel that there is something more they must do, something they must add to God’s “recipe” for salvation. They think they must perform good works to gain God’s favor and earn eternal life. But the Bible is clear—we are saved, “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy” (Titus 3:5).

Unlike the cake-mix manufacturer, God has not changed His “formula” to make salvation more marketable. The gospel we proclaim must be free of works, even though it may sound too easy. R.W.D.

Our Daily Bread, June 2, 1992