By Benjamin H. Liles
For through the grace given to me, I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. ~ Romans 12:3
I know I have talked a great deal about how Jesus fulfills God's word to us, showing us He is God's plan for us. At the same time, we cannot fully know God without being given some sign He is there. And one of the first times He shows Himself to us is with Jacob. Up until Jacob, God walked with a few men: Noah, Abraham, and Isaac. But with Jacob, God gives him a dream.
We read, "Then he dreamed, and behold, a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. And behold, the Lord stood above it and said: “I am the Lord God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants. Also, your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed. Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you" (Genesis 28:12-15, New King James).
Paul writes, "I mean that you have been saved by grace through believing. You did not save yourselves; it was a gift from God. It was not the result of ·your own efforts, so ·you cannot brag about it" (Ephesians 2:8-9). It means that the measure of faith God gives to us is enough to save us, as it is His grace which we receive. We cannot ever save ourselves. It has to be done by God. There is a reason Jesus said, "For people this is impossible, but for God all things are possible" (Matthew 19:26, Expanded). I realize Jesus was talking about how to honor Him best with our possessions, but anyone can come to salvation. It's up to God as to who can and will be reached. All we are to do is to help in persuading.
More than that, we need to be willing to be as gentle as the Lord is on this. We can't bang on someone's door, demanding, "Come out and be saved!" No, God is not like that. We read in another book, "Listen! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come into him and have dinner with him, and he with Me" (Revelation 3:20, Jesus is speaking, Holman Christian Standard). It is up to us whether we choose to listen and obey or to keep that door shut. He will never just barge in unannounced.
Alongside that, it is also through God's persuasion of us to come and join Him that we conquer the grave and therefore death too. John wrote, "Everyone who is a child of God conquers the world. And this is the victory that ·conquers the world—our faith" (1 John 5:4, Expanded). Without Him being active in our life, which is our faith being worked out, we can do nothing apart from Him (see John 15:5). It is by Him and Him alone we not only have faith but His grace, as well as salvation. It is through Jesus that we have these in abundance.
Father, in Your holiness, I see how You planned to grab my attention. You do it through the starry host that You made and set in the sky. You did it through the amazing things that show off your handiwork: nature, animals, and ultimately having made us in Your likeness. We are Your expression on Earth. We not only experience laughter, sadness, grief, and joy, just as You do. Even though we cannot create things like You can, with our mouths, You have given us the ability to make things with our hands. Still, You make it known to me that I can have faith in You. For You have said in Your word, "Neither will I leave nor forsake You" (see Hebrews 13:5). I thank You for Your promises. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.