It was 44 years ago today: Sunday, December 22, 1974. I was sitting in Coral RidgePresbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. As part of that morning’s worship service, Pastor Jim Kennedy was preparing to induct several attendees, including me, as members of that church. The process included his recitation of the following Scripture passage, taken from the Apostle Paul’s letter to the church in Ephesus: “For by grace are you saved through faith and that not of yourselves. It is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast.”(Ephesians 2:8-9)
He then asked us, the candidates, to acknowledge the truth of that passage.Without giving it much thought, I did so. But then, as the service resumed, I continued to dwell on those words: salvation by grace alone; unearned, undeserved, a gift from God – Christ alone! The truth of those words began sinking deeper and deeper into my heart and mind. There were no bells or whistles, no spine-tingling feelings, no magic. But it changed my life –forever!
It was a new birth in Jesus – the best Christmas present I’ve ever received. If you’ve never asked Him for that gift, you can do so right now. Pray this simple prayer, quietly, right where you are: “Lord,I believe Jesus is the Son of God, who died to pay the penalty for my sins, andt o give me the gift of eternal life which you’ve promised. Come into my life so that I will be born again. Amen.”