January 28, 2016
Link to today’s reading: Genesis 29; Matthew 28; Esther 5; Acts 28
It is very hard for me to grasp the price of sin. Romans 6:23 reminds us, the wages of sin is death. I take this on face value that there are serious consequences for sinning. In a very basic way, sin can be anything that puts my interest before God’s. How often do I do that? Can I even count that high?
Not keeping God’s Commandments and breaking the law might mean losing the opportunity for sharing eternal life with God. If it is sin that separates me from God, then it is no wonder I cannot expect to dwell with God forever based upon my efforts alone.
Despite my depravity, God made a provision for my salvation, not only from death but from a misdirected life. In His abundant mercy and amazing grace, He died for me, bridging the void created by sin. He paid the price so that I wouldn’t have to, freeing me from the consequence of my sin and restoring me to the intended fellowship with God. The price of my sin alone was so high in fact that the only way to pay it was for God himself to suffer and die on the cross. Only then could I be redeemed.
Yesterday’s reading made it clear how agonizing the death of Jesus was. He suffered to pay for my sins. Perhaps His greatest agony was that moment before he died when God’s spirit pulled away, leaving Jesus to suffer as a man. A man that had been perfectly united to God throughout his life on earth. My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Today’s reading speaks of Jesus’s resurrection. This was the defining moment of Christianity. The proof and proclamation of the power of Jesus and the reconciliation of God to all humanity. By accepting Jesus, we can live in the knowledge that our slate is marked clean. We have nothing to prove to God if we accept by faith, that all was proven for us. This is the easy part (Jesus did the hard part). If we can get to this point, then we are called to put our faith into action. It is in humility and gratitude, that we seek the life that God has called us to, through the disciplines of prayer, study, service, continual repentance, and sacrifice. To glorify God in all things. On the surface this may seem hard, and yet, in the sincere pursuit of God, we learn more and more about God’s character and will. About God’s love. Then through the power of God’s Holy Spirit, it is possible to be transformed as we begin to conform our lives to God’s will. The way we were meant to be in the beginning.
For me, transformation began in the willingness (and then desire) to seek God above all else. This was the only way I was able to get past the confusion and self deceit in my life. Trust me, there was a lot of both. Unfortunately it took over fifty years to find the faith to do so. A faith I prayed to receive. Then I did.
“Father I pray that those who do not know you would not have to wait as long as me. That your Holy Spirit and your Word, would peirce the hearts of unsaved souls across the world, in our neighborhoods and within our families, bringing forth the abundance of the knowledge of your truth. Amen!”
Ultimately in our faith we are called to “good works,” for “faith without works is dead.” We are to be known by our fruit, which cannot ignore our response to the Great Commission; the command of the resurrected Jesus’s to his Disciples:
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you…..” (Matthew 28: 19-20)
I’m not really sure why it took so long for me. Probably a combination of my stubbornness, arrogance and utter confusion. I didn’t really understand who God was, or how big He was. Nor did I really understand who I was — so broken and lost. In my arrogance I was deceived, not truly understanding what was at stake or how wonderfully different life in a relationship with God could be. I didn’t understand how low the value of the things that God wanted me to turn over to Him were, especially when compared to the value of what God offered me — a new life of abundant blessing in grace and sufficiency.
The easier thing for me was talking to God, asking for help, clarity and strength. Always asking God to do more made me realize I always needed God’s help. Eventually I found the strength (in God) to pursue God with more intention. Then a crazy thing happened, I began to experience the power of God’s love, and this eventually became the best thing in my life. As I began to change on the inside, I hungered more and more for God’s presence, and to know His will for my life.
I am a fatally superficial person. Thankfully, the death and resurrection of Jesus turned my life inside out. What’s your next move?