2020-04-10 Where Do I Even Begin?

“even death on a cross.”
Philippians 2:8

Most likely, none of you reading this knows anything about torture. I certainly don’t. Of course, there are people who suffered greatly at the hands of brutal men, perhaps even more than Jesus. That’s something that really isn’t worth much time pondering. What IS worth the time is thinking about what Jesus’ death has done for you and me.

Now, I’m of the belief that Jesus’ death was for the redeemed and not one drop of blood was shed in vain. Others disagree. What his death has done was to provide a means for the forgiveness of our individual sin. In that I am grateful because apart from that, I am doomed.

This is a very strange story. One doesn’t truly grasp this inside the confines of a church building. Think about it. God sent his only Son to die on a cross for us. Get outside the church building and try to explain redemption to a skeptic and you’ll soon find out exactly how bizarre it is. You may even find yourself doubting it. Try it and see. I would suggest you first practice. I guarantee that you will stumble until you iron it out. It may be a good idea to practice in front of a mirror. I’m not kidding about this.

Does that suggestion sound strange? Does it give you a sense of unease? Why? Is it because you don’t really understand how it all works, at least not well enough that you can’t explain it to anyone?

I understand. I’m the same way. That’s why I spend so much time studying this stuff. I still don’t understand. Oh, certainly, I understand it better today than I did last year, but I am discovering that I am only scratching the surface. I have SO much more to learn!

The more I learn, the more I am astonished that God would even consider having mercy on me. The more I learn, the more I discover how miserable my sin problem is. My INTENTIONAL sin problem. I have a new heart, for crying out loud, yet I STILL sin. Intentionally. So yes, I am astonished that he would have mercy on me.

I’m fascinated by this, too. Even though I still sin (intentionally), I am not the man I once was. Yes, it’s true. There was a time that I shook my fist at God and had no desire whatsoever to bend my knee to his rule. I was an enemy of God. Clearly. Not anymore. No, all that has changed. That guy is no longer around. I’m a different person. How? It was a miracle, a flat-out miracle. That fascinates me.

I’m encouraged by all this as well. You see, if God can do this kind of miracle in me, then I have every reason to believe he will deliver on all his promises. The more I discover that he does, the more I am encouraged that he will. It gives me hope. Great hope. A hope that one day I will see Jesus face-to-face in God’s home and be safe, secure, and joyous forever and ever. Sin will be no more! I will be home!

Which gets me back to the cross. None of this would be possible apart from that. Yet, the cross is a chapter in the redemptive story. How do I explain it to myself so that I might explain it to others? Ah, my friends, to tell a good story, you have to know how to begin. And how do we do that?

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
Genesis 1:1

In the beginning. What a wonderful introduction to the most precious book ever written! And this my friends, the beginning, is where your story begins.

Spend some time this “Easter” weekend thinking these things over. Start working on your narrative of the redemption story. With all this coronavirus quarantine stuff, you probably have time on your hands.

Ephesians 5:15-17 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

Father, let this message encourage all those who read it. Amen.

Copyright © 2020 Scott Powers

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