Cherishing the Wonder of Amazing Grace
by MANDY SAELER
I have loved you with an everlasting love;
therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.
The warm air swished softly as the peaked colors of autumn were illuminated by the mid-afternoon sun. Carried by the wind, the bright leaves danced and twirled to their place of rest upon the ground. The relaxed melody of the saxophone wafted across the patio square while a woman with dark hair holding a microphone swayed to the movement of the music. A weather-worn man walked towards the patio that served as a stage, joining in on the last few lines of her song. As they sang out the last line, she offered an impromptu invitation for a solo. “Do they know Amazing Grace?” he asked, motioning towards the bass and saxophone players. “It has been the song I’ve adopted as my own through this season…”
The players shifted in their seats and soon, the instruments lulled a subtle accompaniment as the man belted out the age-old verses of the beloved John Newton hymn. He sang, projecting his bass operatic voice with heartfelt conviction and a jazz-inspired flourish. He sang it as though he knew the story of this amazing grace to be his own. He sang it like a son.
Sipping a Caffé Americano beneath the pergola, I pondered. The woody notes of the saxophone accompanied not only the man’s hearty song, but my own remembrance of God’s amazing grace…
The grace that sets a man free and emboldens him to publicly sing praise with a passionate heart. The grace that gives vitality and joy. The grace that bequeaths a life of belonging and belovedness to each child of God. On that warm and breezy autumn day, I was reminded again of the amazing grace and marvelous love of God that has drawn me close and given me the most prized title of my life: daughter.
Getting to the heart
Daughter. Specifically, daughter of God. It’s a title that grants a covering and draws me in, offering protection and provision. Beyond this, it’s a name that ushers me into a place of belonging; a place as a beloved in the family of God.
God’s amazing grace has extended His love to you and to me. It’s a love that doesn’t measure our worth by what we have to give, what we can do, or how we perform. Rather, it’s a love that declared and demonstrated our worth to be far above rubies when our souls were ransomed for the highest price — the Son of God’s life.
What I want to share with you today is an invitation — an invitation to belong and to be loved. The One extending the invitation already knows you and already loves you unconditionally. In fact, He is the One who made you. His desire is that you would receive His love and lift your eyes to meet His loving gaze.
Whether you’ve walked intimately with God for many years, merely acknowledged God on the outskirts of your life, or have disregarded Him completely — this truth is for you. It is truth as timeless as sunshine and as vital as breath in our lungs.
Before the foundation of the world, God determined that His Son would become the ransom for the souls of humankind. God knew that His once perfect creation would willfully defy His way, forsaking the beautiful communion once shared with Him to gratify their own desires. The result would be eternal separation from Him. And yet, He longed for holy harmony and relationship with every individual, so He planned that His Son would be appointed to provide the way for all who had gone astray to be welcomed into His nearness again as beloved sons and daughters.
When the fullness of time came, God sent His Son to earth as a baby, conceived by the Holy Spirit, to grow up and live among us. He endured all the trials and temptations that we also face, yet He led a pure and spotless life. He demonstrated His Father’s power by teaching men and women about God, performing miracles, healing the sick, and above all, living a life of pure and consistent love. He lived in perfect union with His Father on a heavenly mission to save and redeem lost sinners through His nearing death and resurrection.
When the appointed time drew near for His life to be laid down, He felt the weight of God’s plan upon His shoulders. In His humanness and in humble agony, He had pleaded with His Father for there to be another way to accomplish His plan to ransom the souls of mankind. And yet, in perfect submission, He yielded up His will, saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done” (Lk. 22:42).
Jesus was betrayed by one of His closest confidants, captured, and eventually put on trial where He was falsely accused, mocked, and ultimately, sentenced to brutal beatings and death by crucifixion. Though He was completely innocent of the charges against Him and undeserving of this cruel sentence, He bravely and silently received it, like a lamb led to slaughter.
God the Father willed that Jesus walk this road. So He suffered an excruciating death upon the Cross where He became the sacrifice for our sin. His lifeless body was prepared for burial and laid to rest. There was silence in the tomb where He laid, while those who knew and loved Jesus grieved this seemingly unjust loss. But God’s eternal plan prevailed when, on the third day, God breathed the breath of life into His Son once more, raising Him from the dead. Wonder of wonders, He was alive again!
Appearing among those who had followed Him, He walked with them, opened their understanding of the Scriptures, ate with them, and showed them the scars upon His hands and side — demonstrating that He truly was alive!
In the days to come, He would ascend into Heaven to reside with His Father and to prepare a place for His followers there. And in the meantime, He sent the Comforter — the Holy Spirit of God — to live within the men and women who believe on Him. With the Comforter living within them, they would be enabled to live a pure, powerful, and love-filled life just as Jesus had.
This is the amazing grace and the marvelous love of God on display!
The beautiful thing about this old story is that it’s not just a story to hear, but it is one that we get to be a part of. It’s a living story with a ready invitation into intimacy with the Living God for you and for me.
The sacrifice that Jesus made cleared the way for our souls to be made right with God, bridging the abyss that our sin and wrongdoing has created between us and God. Salvation has been granted to all who believe and a place in Heaven has been reserved — but there is more! God desires communion with us — His holy heart longs for us to be reconciled to Him and He desires that we grow in the grace and knowledge of Him — and because of Jesus this is possible.
We simply must admit that we are sinners in need of a Savior, with no hope for our sinful state being remedied apart from Him. We must believe that Jesus is the Son of God, sent by His Father as the demonstration of His love and to be the sacrifice for our sin. And we must confess Jesus, publicly declaring Him as the Savior of our soul and the Lord of our life. This means that, for the love and fear of God, we are motivated to turn from our sin and to “go and sin no more” (Jn. 8:11). By His grace, we are compelled to forever live in the echo of Jesus’ own words, “…not my will, but Yours be done” (Lk. 22:42).
For a more detailed exploration of the Gospel, please see Gazing at the Grand and Glorious Gospel here.
Knowing Jesus as Savior and God as Father changes everything. And understanding that we are His daughter changes everything, too.
Whether you’ve walked with God for years or have just begun, these are precious truths for your heart, as a daughter of God, to embrace. For, “…[nothing] shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:39).
When God looks at us, He no longer sees the account of our sins against Him — He sees the sparkling clean holiness and purity of Jesus. The old has gone and the new has come. Robed in the righteousness of Jesus, we are given a new name and identity — precious and beloved daughter of God.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
“You are all fair, my love, and there is no spot in you.” Song of Solomon 4:7
“Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.” Psalm 34:5
You have been purified from your past through His love, you are spotless in His sight.
When the Father looks upon you,
He sees the righteousness of Jesus and is pleased.
When God looks at us, He sees His beloved children that have been brought near through the blood of His Son. He sees precious members of His family to whom the treasury of His promises are accessible. We are given a place of belonging in Him, an eternally meaningful purpose in this world, and an assurance of our reservation in the world to come.
“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.” John 1:12
“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.” 1 John 3:1
“For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.”
2 Corinthians 1:20
You have found your place of belonging in Him,
you are accepted and loved.
When the Father looks upon you,
He sees a daughter sent on a heavenly mission in this world and can hardly wait to
welcome you home.
When God looks at us, He sees women who are crowned with heavenly love, made beautiful by the garment of salvation and the adorning of the Gospel that envelopes our lives. He knew us even before we were born and we were precious to Him even when our hearts were far from Him. And now, with hearts that have returned His gaze and surrendered to His pursuit, He rejoices over us.
“O LORD, You have searched me and known me.” Psalm 139:1
“…I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.”
“The LORD your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with
gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17
You are fully known and completely loved.
When the Father looks upon you,
He sees a precious soul that
He loves, cares for, and desires.
“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see…”
Is this amazing grace precious to you? Will you treasure it as you yield your life to Jesus? While it may not be my natural bent to sing a solo on a public patio square, my heart is compelled to cherish and wonder at His amazing grace.
What a beautiful life is ours when we truly embrace our identity as beloved daughters of the Most High God. Knowing that we are accepted in the Beloved and are secure in His love, we can live from a place of rest and abundance.
As we live with confidence from this place of belonging and belovedness, we begin to learn to live with eyes and hearts for those around us. For they, too, are loved and desired by God … and they must know of His amazing grace. May we sing and speak of it with boldness and with joy, for it is the sweetest sound we know!