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Have you ever wondered why Mary was chosen to be the mother of the Messiah? Because of her unique and honoured position many unrealistic fables and unbiblical ideas have grown up around her. But, nevertheless, she was chosen, why?
The first and greatest reason she was chosen was because she was a child of grace. In other words, God chose her in grace because of Who He is, not because of who she was. It is easy to get caught up in a works mentality. Think of the great men of the Bible - Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, etc. Not one of them earned the work of God in their lives. Not one of them deserved it. They were chosen because God decided to choose them in grace. Mary was no different. She did not earn the right to be the mother of the Messiah through her own merits or works. It was a gift from God to her.
Paul sets things in perspective in 1 Cor. 4:7-8:
For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not? [NIV]
or as The Message paraphrases it:
For who do you know that really knows you, knows your heart? And even if they did, is there anything they would discover in you that you could take credit for? Isn’t everything you have and everything you are sheer gifts from God? So what’s the point of all this comparing and competing?
All the glory goes to God. He was the One Who prepared Mary, gave her life, placed her in the line of David, arranged the events of her history, her life, her desires. He was the One Who crafted her personality, her character, her love for God [1 John 4:19] before time began [Eph. 1:4-5]. It was all a special, precious gift. It was unearned, but given in love and grace.
Even through Mary had a unique place as the Mother of the Messiah - and the honour and blessedness that goes with it - she does not have a unique place as a child of grace. Every person who has believed on Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour is a child of grace. This means that you, assuming the last sentence is true of you, are a child of grace. Before the creation of the world - before you had personally done anything good or bad - God looked at you, designed you, chose to love you and had a special plan for your life.
You may not feel like you are very special. You may not see God’s plan for your life. You may feel that you have messed up so bad that you can never be used by God. None of that is true.
We have been called to live a life of faith. This means we recognize that sometimes our feelings lie to us. Feelings are important, but they are not the measure of Truth - the Word of God is. If our feelings are telling us something different from the revealed Word of God, then we cling to the Word of God until our feelings change!
The truth is you are a child of grace. God has decided to love you because of Who He is not because of Who you are. This is amazingly comforting when we realize what it really means. It means God’s reason for loving you is not based on your performance! There is nothing you have done, are doing or will do that can change God’s decision to love you because it is based on Himself. He would have to change before His love would change and we know God does not change [Mal. 3:6, Heb. 13:8]. You are secure in His arms!
Having said all that, does this mean our actions are unimportant? Are we only puppets on a string? Not at all.
While the Bible is very firm on the grace of God and our not earning anything from God, it also places a responsibility on us to use - and not misuse - the gifts of God to us.
Look at Mary again. Was she passive or fatalistic [i.e. what will be will be]? No, she made sure she understand what the angel was saying and then she gave God permission to fulfill His plan in her life. Amazing that the Almighty God of the universe would want permission to fulfill His plan - a plan on which hinged the destiny of the entire human race and created order!
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her. [Luke 1:38, NIV]
or again as The Message words it:
And Mary said, Yes, I see it all now: I’m the Lord’s maid, ready to serve. Let it be with me just as you say. Then the angel left her.
God did not force Himself and His will on Mary and neither will He force Himself or His will on you. You and I must, like Mary, yield to Him. Failure to yield does not mean that He loves us any less, only that we will miss out on His plan for us and it will be accomplished through someone else. In case you feel that you have already missed out, be reassured, no matter what has or is happening in your life, you are a child of grace. Commit yourself to God, allow Him to have His way in your life and He will take you from where you are and unfold His beautiful plan for your life!