It was during my last semester, in 1996 that I was called to the president’s office at Heritage Christian University where I was attending. I knew that my scholarship did not cover the whole amount in tuition at HCU. I had a balance and it needed to be paid. I knew I owed about five thousand dollars to the University in tuition, but there was nothing I could do. I was a student I did not have a job and my parents in Mexico did not have the means to pay it.
I went hesitant and nervous toward Dennis Jones office, the president at HCU. As I was going toward his office, I started to think what I would say to him. I could say that “I could apply for a loan somewhere” or “hold my diploma and wait till I pay and then you can give me my diploma”. I entered the president’s office and he greeted me and told me about my balance and then right away before I could even reply he said, “there is a church in Tullahoma Tennessee that would like to pay your debt”. I was speechless, I have never even been in Tennessee, I have never been to the Wilson Avenue Church of Christ in Tullahoma Tennessee. How could this be possible?
The president told me that this congregation had sold a property and what they wanted to do was to help a student who was studying to become a preacher. When they called HCU, the president told them about my situation, they replied saying that they would take care of my balance. I gladly accepted the offer from them to pay my debt. I am thankful to God, to Dennis Jones and the congregation in Tullahoma, TN. This act brought to my mind what grace is all about. I was powerless to pay my debt. But I have received something that I had not earned and something that I did not deserve. Two weeks later I visited this congregation and thanked them personally for their help to me.
The Bible says clearly that “the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men” (Tit. 2:11), not all will receive it. Imagine a wealthy man having compassion on a poor, homeless man, in his impoverished and sad condition, and deciding to do something to save him. The poor man doesn’t deserve the rich man’s help (he’s done nothing to earn it), yet the offer is there. The rich man offers to take the poor man and get him cleaned up and to give him a job and a place to live. If the poor man takes him up on his offer, then (and only then) is he saved by grace. If he does not take up the rich man’s offer, he forfeits grace and cannot benefit from it at all. You see, all because mercy and grace was shown toward the poor man doesn’t mean he was automatically saved from his situation. He must be willing to receive it. And if the poor man did accept the offer, but then turned back to his miserable lifestyle, he would no longer receive the rich man’s act of grace.
The same is true spiritually. God offers to give you something you neither can earn nor obtain on your own. God offers to all those who wish to take it, the forgiveness of sins. If you will do what He tells you, you will be saved. In Acts 2:38 about three thousand decided to be baptized after they heard the sermon preached. They accepted the offer of Grace and were baptized for the forgiveness of their sins. This is what we preach, “the gift of salvation to all humankind”. Have you been baptized, have you received the gift of salvation? If you have, do not lose it and be thankful to God for it. If you have not received it, do not wait any longer and received this precious gift that God is giving you.