Once Upon a Time
Many of our beloved fairy tales begin with the words, Once Upon a Time. How well I remember those special moments of my childhood days when I sat on my Grandpas lap as he read to me my favorite stories; many which began with the words, Once Upon a Time. Oh, how those words brought excitement to my heart because I knew a wonderful tale was about to unfold, a tale that would transport me to another world; one that, more often than not, was the world of a handsome prince, a beautiful princess, and a happily ever after ending. One of my favorites was the captivating story of Sleeping Beauty.
In contemplating the tale of Sleeping Beauty, I see striking similarities with our divine love story. In Sleeping Beauty, we find the narrative of a beautiful princess who has been born into a royal family. At her christening, an evil relative decrees a curse of death on her, while another relative who, although she cannot undo the curse, cancels the power of death. She boldly proclaims the princess will not die, but rather fall into a deep sleep which will last for one hundred years. However, at the end of that time, a handsome prince will come, and awaken her with a kiss. As is the pattern with princess fairy tales, at the conclusion of this saga, there is a happily ever after ending.
In our divine love story, we (all humanity) are the lovely princess who has been born into royalty. Our Father is the magnificent King, Who has amazing plans for our future; plans that include marriage to His Son, the Prince of the Kingdom of Heaven. However, something dreadful happens before the marriage can take place - an evil usurper (Satan) deceives the beautiful princess, and she comes under a curse in which she is enslaved to this cruel taskmaster. Just as in the tale of Sleeping Beauty, Heavens heroic Prince comes to her rescue and liberates His princess (us) from her ruthless adversary. This overwhelmingly, wonderful plot, when culminated, will take the princess to another world - the world she was purposefully created to inhabit for all eternity. There, in His world, she will marry the handsome Prince, with Whom she will live happily ever after. What an incredible, breathtaking, love story we belong to; a story superior and far more captivating than any fairy tale ever penned! It is, and forever will be, the greatest story ever told.
In order to gain a clearer understanding of our divine love story, there is a paramount issue we must consider: Even as there was a plan to awaken Sleeping Beauty from the decrees which had been spoken over her life, our great Father King had a plan, a mystery hidden in His heart throughout the timeless ages of eternity - a blueprint which would restore His enslaved princess back to her original design. Her restoration would come through Gods ingenious plan of redemption. This plan required His Beloved Son to come to earth, sacrifice His life in death, thereby paying the ransom price needed to free His cherished princess.
Our Once Upon a Time
Just as numerous fairy tales have a once upon a time, so does our divine love story. Although our love story is found throughout the sacred Scriptures, I have found that there are several passages that succinctly tell our story, and could begin with a Once Upon a Time. Many such passages are found in the book of Ephesians. Therefore, I will begin a passage from Ephesians in this way: ONCE UPON A TIME we were dead in our trespasses and sins. We walked according to the course and fashion of this world following the prince of the power of the air, living by the passions of our flesh. We were by nature the children of wrath. We were without Christ, without a covenant, having no hope, no promise; we were in this world without God (Taken from Ephesians 2:1-3, 12).
Once upon a time we were lost and without God in this world. We lived our selfish lives doing as we pleased. Our hearts were corrupted by sin. We were bound by the dictates of our flesh and didnt even know we could be free. We were living without hope, having no glorious forever to move toward. Then a most wonderful thing happened: The God of grace opened another chapter in the story of our life, and it too begins with a Once Upon a Time:
Once Upon a Time Because of and in order to satisfy the great and wonderful and intense love with which He loved us, Even when we were dead [slain] by [our own] shortcomings and trespasses, He made us alive together in fellowship and in union with Christ. - He gave us the very life of Christ Himself,, the same new life with which He quickened Him. [ for] it is by grace - by His favor and mercy which you did not deserve - that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christs salvation). And He raised us up together with Him and made us sit down together - giving us joint seating with Him - in the heavenly sphere [by virtue of our being] in Christ Jesus, the Messiah, the Anointed One. He did this that He might clearly demonstrate through the ages to come the immeasurable (limitless, surpassing) riches of His free grace (His unmerited favor) in kindness and goodness of heart toward us in Christ Jesus. But now in Christ Jesus, you who once were [so] far away, through (by, in) the blood of Christ have been brought near (Ephesians 2:4-7, 13).
As we ponder our divine story, our hearts rejoice that our Warrior Prince willingly came to this earth and paid redemptions price, thus conquering the formidable forces of darkness that had taken us captive. Our Hero rescued us. He delivered us out of the hand of the enemy for now and all eternity! We are no longer subject to him. By the Blood of the Lamb, Satan and all his cohorts have been rendered utterly powerless in our lives. They have no claim to us; no right; no jurisdiction over us. Forever we have been set free!
In Hebrews 9:12 we read of an eternal event, He went once for all into the [Holy of] Holies [of heaven], not by virtue of the blood of goats and calves [by which to make reconciliation between God and man], but His own blood, having found and secured a complete redemption - an everlasting release [for us]. Once! One sacrificial offering of His precious blood. That is all it took for Jesus Christ to secure a complete and eternal redemption for all humanity - for every man, every woman, every child. Once for all!
My heart bursts with thanksgiving and praise as I meditate upon my glorious redemption that is in Christ Jesus. I concur with the words penned by Fanny Crosby:
Redeemed, how I love to proclaim it!
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;
Redeemed through His infinite mercy,
His child, and forever, I am.
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;
His child, and forever I am.
Precious one, whatever situation or circumstance you may find yourself in today, remember, you have been redeemed by the costly, highly honored blood of the Lamb. Your victory has been eternally secured. Dont let anything or anyone, including the threats of the enemy, shake your confidence in all that has been won for you through the redemption you have in Christ Jesus. click here to read part 2 of this article