“In the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ it shall be said to them, ‘Children of the living God.’” “Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” Hosea 1:10; 1 Peter 2:10
“We ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Titus 3:3-7
Between the ‘onces’ and ‘nows’ in our lives can lie moments or months, crises or celebrations, circumstances beyond our control or willful decisions. What is sure is that in spiritual onces and nows, it is the great God Who intervenes in marvelous mercy and kindness. He is the amazing change agent.
No matter how much effort I expend to “better myself,” to change my habits, to “get through this, solve this,” God so works in my life to prove it is only He Who quickens the rebel spirit, transforms the affections, gives life to the dead, inspires the will, makes enemies friends, redeems the lost. ‘Onces’ can only become certain ‘nows’ by being plunged into His deep work of mercy and grace, accomplished by Jesus in His death and resurrection. No human toil or resolve can do the work only He can do— but thanks be to God, He does it! (Ephesians 2:1-5;5:8)
Father, with You is steadfast love and plentiful redemption; You alone redeem me from all my iniquities. You alone call me out of darkness into Your marvelous light, and I marvel at Your mercy. Take all that is dark, mean, resistant, unkind, self-absorbed in me and make it “once.” Plant me in Your “now,” so with a grateful and whole heart, and with all my doing, I ever proclaim Your excellencies. (Psalm 130:7-8; 1 Peter 2:9)