Saving Grace

During my college years I had a harrowing experience where God exhibited his amazing grace in my life. My indomitable roommate Dave was helping me tow my 1950 four-door Dodge that had broken down near St. Charles, Minnesota. We were using Dave’s 1940s fast-back Buick coupe to haul the Dodge back 90 miles to Owatonna on the old two-lane U.S. 14.

Here is a recent photo from the internet of a 1950 Dodge Coronet similar to the car that I inherited from my Grandfather in about 1962.

The Buick was a perfect foil for the caper because it had a large steel bumper that extended about six inches beyond the trunk, and provided an ideal place to wrap a chain for towing. Since I worked as a school bus driver we went to my bosses, the Mason Brothers, and asked their advice. They assured us that a stout chain should pull the Dodge with ease. They also supplied us with a length of pipe that could act as a spacer between the two cars. The chain was threaded through the pipe and lashed to each vehicle. The idea was that the pipe would keep the towed car from bashing into the towing car. Sounded like a good plan.

Well, it turned out to be almost a tragic end of our lives, because for some strange reason the towing car suddenly jack-knifed to the right and off of the pavement. We pulled over, tried to settle our wits, and communicated some kind of wishful promise to each other to not let that happen again. Off we went again down the highway, but this time the lead car jack-knifed sharply to the left – across the oncoming lane – and wound up in the ditch. Only by God’s grace there was no approaching traffic on the road at that precise time. A big semi would have made us both history! 

This time we both had enough. There was an automobile repair shop about a hundred yards from where we sat. I went to the proprietor and sold him the car on the spot for $50. The only reason he gave me any money was because it had two new tires on the front. We headed back to college as two shaken and hopefully wiser scholars. By God’s grace we were saved that day from a potential catastrophe that could have drastically altered or ended our lives.

As I ponder this experience, the wonderful truth in Ephesians 2:8 comes to my mind, even though that gospel verse doesn’t apply only to foolhardy Bible College students.

The primary meaning of the phrase “For by grace are you saved…” is unquestionably declaring the offer of God’s gift of eternal salvation to sinful people of any age or circumstance. Still, is that all there is in Eph. 2:8-9? Does the promise of appropriating the grace gift of all that salvation entails start at the point of regeneration, or only after our present life is ended and we go to be with our Savior? The writer of Hebrews makes it clear that Christ saves “to the uttermost” as the KJV describes, or completely and forever as rendered in other translations. That Greek expression used is a compound word that comes from the root word of the cry of Christ from the Cross. “It is finished!” Or in Heb. 7:25, it is literally “full-ended” or fully complete.

Saving grace is truly an amazing truth. God, through Christ, has provided salvation by His grace, for His glory and our eternal good. On that fateful day many years ago God was saying to two young guys that He wasn’t finished with the ongoing workings of His grace in our lives. That is a humbling thought.

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