Since Roman and Katy were inconsistent in their attendance at our lessons and never expressed much understanding, I’ve been skeptical about what they have grasped. Roman showed up to our Sunday church meeting for the second week without Katy. When we were done, I asked him if I could come down to their house Monday morning and talk about what they had learned. He agreed to it.
This morning I went down to their house crossing the creek swollen from the night’s rain. When I got to the house I found Katy, a bunch of their kids, and no Roman. Because it would not have been appropriate to talk with Katy alone in that environment, I turned for home. I chose the wrong rock to trust when recrossing the creek and it dumped me shin deep. I trekked home with my water-proof shoes proving their capability inside out.
I arrived sweaty, soggy-footed and dejected. After a cold shower I walked outside and found Roman and Katy sitting in our yard waiting on me. Relieved and excited, I began asking them questions about God and our nature. Gradually I got to the point and asked them what we have to do to be at peace with God. They said, “Believe in Him and follow Him and do good.” So I started from the beginning.
I explained the alienation we inherit from Adam and the guilt we pile on with our own sin. Then I explained the propitiatory* nature of Jesus’ sacrifice. It seemed like they were assenting to what I was saying, but it wasn’t having the commensurate impact. So I tried this: “You guys have a lot of kids. If an orphan shows up to your house and starts doing a bunch of work–weeding your garden, picking up trash, fetching water–and then goes around saying ‘I’m Roman’s son now,’ what would you say? You would say, ‘He’s not mine. I didn’t adopt him.’ Just because he does work for you does not mean you adopted him. Likewise, just because you do work that you think will please God, doesn’t mean He has accepted you. God says he adopts us if and only if we believe in Jesus’ work on the cross. We can’t skip the belief/adoption step and think that our work is going to win acceptance for us.” Bingo.
All the religious people tell us about all the work we have to do to be righteous. We have to go to church and pray and sing. But all we have to do is believe what Jesus did.
I thought when I went to church and did what God wanted, he would save me. But God put all of my sin on Jesus and punished him for it. That’s why God saves me.
Then Roman stood up and shook my hand with a grin on his face, which has proven to be the pattern for those who finally grasp the grace of God.
Please pray for Roman and Katy. Pray that this understanding will translate into belief (if it hasn’t already.) And pray that they will communicate this to their six biological children.
*no good Menya word for this yet