The Lord is gracious and compassionate

Published 12:24 pm Monday, September 20, 2021

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From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham

Dear Rev. Graham: God must be very disappointed with me. I don’t see how I can still be a Christian when I keep losing my temper. — C.S.

Dear C.S.: One reason many Christians aren’t sure of their salvation is because they still sin, and they fear God may reject them because of it. Sin is serious. But even when we sin, the Bible tells us that the Lord is gracious and compassionate. He’s slow to anger and rich in love (Psalm 145:8).
Suppose someone is given the gift of a computer. The giver says, “This is my gift to you.” The recipient would be so delighted. Then they would become discouraged to hear the giver say, “Though you’ll have to learn how to operate this computer, and if you make one mistake, I am going to take it back. You can only keep it if you operate it perfectly!” That would be quite discouraging.
Yet many people assume God’s like that, giving us the gift of salvation — then taking it back if we aren’t perfect. But this isn’t true. When we’re saved, Christ begins the work of transformation. He forgives the curse of sin against us and remakes us to live for Him.
The story’s told of a sculpture artist who was chipping away at a chunk of stone. A man asked, “What are you doing?” The artist replied, “I’m sculpting an elephant.” The man responded, “How do you know what to chip away?” The sculptor smiled and replied, “I chip away anything that doesn’t look like an elephant.”
This is what God desires to do with our lives. Sin has distorted everything about us — our bodies, hearts, and minds. When we place our lives in His care, He will chip away at whatever keeps us apart from Him so that we can wholly be part of Him.
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)

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