Perseverance of the Saints: A Matter Of Grace
Recently Jeff C remarked in an email just how encouraging it is to see all the folks visit the blog here who by all natural rights should be over and done with faith. That is, people bitten by the church and the modern day Pharisees who have misrepresented God to them. And they come to this blog seeking no only freedom from abuse, but freedom within the context of faith. They still believe in Jesus. After years of following a faith only to be let down, who sticks around? And why?
Isn’t it natural to blame God? Isn’t it natural to turn against Jesus and believe that the Holy Spirit has no real power? Some do — some are hurt by believers or the church and jump ship. The honest truth is I personally came pretty close myself, but when I really just wanted to turn away, God wouldn’t let me. He held on with a gentle but firm hand and showed me that there was no real life apart from him, and I believed.
The discussion reminded me of this song off my band’s previous CD. It’s a song about the perseverance of Christians to remain in the faith where God has called them and the grace that enables them to do this. This song contains real life stories of people I’ve met who’ve shown that kind of perseverance — people like those who visit this blog and tell their stories and still cling to the arms of the Savior.
The first verse of this song is about a preacher in a small church who preached faithfully to scripture. Some folks didn’t like his ways and that they couldn’t control him, and these folks were the ones with all of the money. They stopped giving to force him out, but he believed he was called to be at that church so he did NOT step down. No, instead he took out another job and kept on preaching. And the majority of the church (the ones with little money) were glad for it. That story has always encouraged me because this isn’t a preacher out there to sell books or be famous- he wants to change lives by any means possible.
The woman in this song is one of my oldest friends. Her family gave lip service to religion, but really didn’t know much about the things of God. Her father committed suicide and her mother became so depressed she went to live with relatives. In the church where she got saved she was constantly bombarded with young men wanting more from her than a young lady ought to be giving outside of marriage. Over and over again she saw people used and misrepresent faith, and I would be lying if I said that didn’t affect her, but in the end I can tell you she is a lovely, brilliant and godly woman who met and married a wonderful man of God. Together they have lived out the Gospel before the world together and I am proud to still be her friend. I saw the deck stacked against her, and yet her life is a testimony to the grace of God that called and kept her.
The last story in this song is a familiar one — it’s of our Savior enduring beyond all that he should so that we could have that grace. Every person who stays in the faith when they “should” have left is here because Jesus bore the price. I know it is true in my own life as well as many of yours. I hope you can enjoy this song and that many of you can add your own verses that end in a praise of God’s grace.
He was just the pastor of a small country church
Happy where he was though some would question why
I remember every Sunday and the sermons he gave
Those word of wisdom he spoke into my life
Reminded me that faith is not about bondage
And what it truly means for a man to be free
I guess his congregation didn’t see it his way
They told him he was wrong and they asked him to leave
And I know he could have walked away
Still he stood there in his place
I asked what was it that made him stay
He smiled at me and said, “It’s just a matter of grace”
She was just a woman from a broken family
Filled with religion and hypocrisy
Every day I wonder that she’s still with the Lord
After all those lies of what a person should be
She has every reason to walk away
Still she stands there in her place
I asked what is it that makes her stay
She smiled at me and said, “It’s just a matter of grace”
And all the times I’ve wondered how God’s people can carry on
I’ve seen it’s only a Father’s grace that keeps his people strong
He was just a man in prayer one night
The weight of the world resting on his spine
He asked if there was any other way it could be
And kneeling in the garden the Savior cried
He had every reason to walk away
Still he stood there in my place
I know if I asked him why he stayed
He’d smile at me and say, “It’s just a matter of grace”