Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States

Free Gift - Are You Willing to Accept

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"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God not of works, lest anyone should boast, for we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:8-10).

From the beginning of the creation, God's grace was present. He formed man and woman with His own hand and own breath as an expression of love and grace.

In the beginning, He gave freewill and did not force His way on anyone, yet there were only a few In the Old Testament that found grace in the eye of the Lord.

In the New Testament, God's graces have been given to us generously especially on the cross, when our Lord Jesus Christ suffered for us in order to free us from death and give us salvation and life with Him in eternity.

Grace is a gift that none of us deserves. God made it available to all but sadly it is accepted by few, why?

Satan dresses sin with many colors like fun, adventure, and excitement. Unfortunately many people fall in that trap and sooner or later they become prisoners of guilt, fear, addiction, or misery.

Living in sin blinds the person to see and feel God's love, blessings, and gift of grace and open his heart to many sorts of anger, resentment, and not being satisfied with his life.

Does that mean believers do not sin?

We all are faced with sin and wrong doing every single day. Therefore, we, as believers, depend on God's grace and abide in Him to help us through our everyday tasks and His Holy Spirit to guide us that we can overcome sin, repent, and ask for forgiveness.

"But whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst, but the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life" (John 4:14).

The good news that grace is more powerful than sin for it gives us strength to:

  • Handle difficult problems
  • Endure trials
  • Resist temptations

"Now there was a certain man from Zorah of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah and his wife barren and had no children. And the Angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, 'Indeed now, you are barren and have borne no children, but you shall conceive and bear a son.'" (Judges 13:2-3).

The story of Samson is a story that applies to many of us. God always wants to bless us with many things because of His love and longing to each one of us. Yet all we do is follow our desires and ignore His commandments. The children of Israel had sinned in front of the Lord and God blessed Samson since his birth with great strength and gave him the wisdom to judge the people of Israel for twenty years.

Despite all the blessings God gave him, he turned his back on God's instruction and commandments when Samson fell into temptations and decided to marry from the Philistines. When his marriage failed he did not repent but he kept on making more wrong decisions and finally he loved a woman in the valley of Sorek whose name was Delilah.

When the Lord of the Philistines heard they came to her and promised her eleven hundred pieces of silver if she can find out Samson's secret where his great strength lies.

When Delilah succeeded her mission of finding out his secret, she waited unil Samson went to sleep and shaved seven locks of his head, then called the Philistines to come and capture him. And they captured him and put out his eyes and through him in jail. For Lord had departed from him.

"Now the lords of the Philistines gathered together to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god, and to rejoice. And they said: 'Our god has delivered into our hands Samson our enemy!'" (Judges 16:23).

When they brought Samson in for everyone to see, they praised their god even more. How sad when we realize that every time we disobey God:

  • We allow the devil to rejoice and to have the illusion he is in control.
  • We put ourselves at risk that we may lose everything even our eternity.

"Then Samson called to the Lord, saying, 'O Lord God, remember me, I pray! Strengthen me, I pray, just this once, O God, that I may with one blow take vengeance on the Philistines for my two eyes!'" (Judges 16:28).

God heard Samson's prayers and He granted him his wish and the temple fell on the lords and all the people who were in it.

Now the question is every time we sin knowingly can we get the same chance as Samson to repent?

Not everyone gets a chance for we do not know when God will call on every one of us. Therefore do not let your life hang by chances. Do the right thing in the sight of God and He will fill your heart with His love and His grace to overcome whatever temptation you are struggling with. May the Lord open our eyes to see all the wonderful things He does every single day for us.

Written by
Nagwa Abdou

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