In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. Ephesians 1: 7-8
Redemptive grace is a beautiful thing.
When ministering to women drug addicts, God often uses their lives to display His redemptive grace at work in their hearts. Many hunger for hope and question whether they are beyond the redemptive grace of God.
There are women who continue to abuse chemical substances while pregnant, often resulting in innocent infants being born addicted to crack or with fetal alcohol syndrome. Such behavior demonstrates the total depravity of who we are as humans.
Following is a recent Facebook news feed:
Nothing is more disgusting/sad than hearing about a woman with an unborn baby in her belly sitting out on her porch drinking alcohol every night…. Now that’s a low life,,, (emphasis mine)
What is startling regarding the comment, is the words were posted by a young woman who has needed redemptive grace in her own life. She too has struggled with substance abuse.
Compelled to comment, here was my response:
Heartbreaking for sure. Reminded of your August 18 post. Low life? Jesus hung out with the lowly. He died between 2 criminals. Lost and in need of a loving God! Pray for this girl. Pray God to lift the veil from her heart so she can see Jesus clearly. The same God who saved me and you can save her from herself. Grace.
Your [sic] right Arlene. He did hand [sic] out with the lowly of the world. But not the ones who rejected Him. (emphasis mine)
The statement implies Christ only hung out with those who did not reject Him.
Scripture would teach us just the opposite. Christ was frequently among what society would label as low life’s.
Yes, he hung out in the synagogues (and many rejected Him there) to teach the religious how Scripture pointed to Him.
Yes, he hung with His disciples. He did so to teach them about the truth of the gospel. Through them this message was spread throughout the world. Luke records this in the New Testament book of Acts.
Just as importantly, he hung out with despised tax collectors, low life prostitutes, and unclean lepers.
The book of Luke (although, not the only book) is a great place to examine Christ’s ministry.
Removing the Veil
We, as humans, are capable of some of the most detestable actions, harming others at the expense of our own self-indulgent gods. All the while continuing to reject the redemptive grace Christ offers.
Should we be abhorred by the behavior of a pregnant woman abusing alcohol?
At the same time, also realizing such actions as harming an unborn child by drinking is a reflection of the extent of our deplorable sin nature.
2 Corinthians 3: 15 reminds us when people reject God, the reason is because there is a veil which covers their heart .Because this veil covers their heart, they do not understand the Word of God. The passage goes on to teach us the veil is only removed when we turn to Christ. So you can not expect someone to understand the things of God when they are blinded by a shroud.
What then prompts us to turn to Christ?
Further down in verse 17 you find the answer. God’s Holy Spirit is the only one to lift the veil.
Even if you are a pregnant woman and drink alcohol on your porch, God’s Holy Spirit can move and cause one to turn to Him.
Which brings us to the story of Erica.
Redemptive Grace in Action
Erica may not even remember me, but I remember her. I remember her beautiful disposition. I remember her gorgeous smile. Her blond hair.Her youth. Her struggle to stay clean. Her battle to remain sober.
Recently, while browsing Facebook, a status update from Erica showed up in my news feed (Thank you Erica for letting me share):
2 yrs. clean and sober as of today! Woohoo! No shortcuts, no in-betweens, no days off. It’s been 2 yrs… straight in a row… of endless prayers, keeping the faith, accepting the guidance and keeping my head held high…drug and alcohol free. Whoa. =D I never thought I’d see the day come! But then again, my God is just that awesome and I’m so thankful He saw fit for me to be given another chance at life..so is my family. I definitely believe in miracles…I am one. Now, I think this miracle is going to go bake herself a cake..haha. Thank you God.
Does this just make your heart sing with joy? A joy unspeakable to know Erica has experienced the lavishness of God’s riches.
That, my friends, is redemptive grace.
How might you have responded if you saw this on your FB feed?: “Nothing is more disgusting/sad than hearing about a woman with an unborn baby in her belly sitting out on her porch drinking alcohol every night…. Now that’s a low life,,,”