Unmerited Favor

I have never been a huge fan of carnivals. The games made me lose my money, and the rides made me lose my lunch. Nevertheless, while walking the fairway one county fair evening, my nephew and I decided to play one of the seemingly simpler games. For only two dollars, all we had to do was toss a golf ball into the hole of the center ring as many times as we could and watch our plastic pony cross the finish line. During a few practice throws, I found I was ridiculously uncoordinated at this game.

The starting bell sounded and the race was on. Toss after toss I laughed at the disgrace of my “skill” but continued with the game, recognizing I was a total failure. I glanced up at the tracks, expecting to see my lonely horse still in the starting gate, but amazingly, it was in the lead!

How did that happen? I hadn’t put one ball in the hole to that point. Granted, the person to my left could hardly stay in his seat due to an over-consumption of refreshments, but my nephew seated on my right, as well as others, were making score after score.

Now, I am not so naïve to the fact that I had a little help somewhere. The carnie demonstrated his peculiar favor for me in that while I was yet a pathetic player, he nudged my pony to victory. I felt a little undeserving as I chose from the large stuffed animals lining the top shelf. Even so, I quietly walked away with a floppy, cross-eyed tiger.

As a child of God, we too find ourselves in a position of unworthiness, knowing that we do not deserve the rewards of heaven for the things we have done. My life proved to be try after failed try, leaving me feeling more and more a failure, recognizing I simply did not measure up to my own self-imposed religious standards.

All will soon discover that no matter how much practice, skill, or will we may possess, we prove ourselves pathetic players in the seemingly simple game of life. We look at our lives and consider ourselves still locked behind the gates of our spiritual inadequacies.

“But God demonstrates His own love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”
(Romans 5:8).

There is not a thing we can do on our own to earn salvation. There are no hoops to jump, targets to hit, or swindling to arrange to secure a place in the kingdom. The price was paid over two thousand years ago as the Son of God said, “It is finished” and died on the cross at Calvary. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

Jesus did not deserve the cross; we did. We do not deserve the gift of God’s grace, but He gives to anyone who will receive.

“For it is by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:89).

God’s affection for us causes Him to reward us not just with eternal life but abundant life on earth, as well as a precious relationship with the King of kings and Lord of lords. Are we unworthy? Yes, but the offer still stands. Receive it in Jesus’ name.

Blessed be our God, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. Thank you Lord that even in our pathetic and wretched state, You died for us. Through Your Holy Spirit, we now live for You. To the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

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