For those of us who love and worship the Lord Jesus Christ, this is of all the weeks of the year the greatest. This week is a solemn reminder of Jesus' greatest gift, of His greatest mercy, of His greatest victory, and the example of His greatest love.
For all of us who think of Him dying on the Cross, and wonder why He would even consider exchanging His life for ours, His righteousness for our sins, His power for our weakness, this week is a wonder. It is true that nobody can fathom the mercy and kindness of God in offering us humans eternal life, and then giving us the ability to choose that life, offered to us for free, but we CAN understand that is what God meant to do. It has been His intention all along--to offer us everlasting life that we can actually choose, and have for our very own. It's not as if we have to do something for it (what could we do to earn it, anyway? It's the greatest gift imaginable), or in some way get it at the end, after God deems us worthy...instead, He says, "I know you're not worthy," but tell you what: "I'll give this eternal life to you, free of charge, and you can accept it or reject it."
Don't believe me??
Then consider these verses:
"God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, so that whoever believes in Him may...have eternal life..."
"The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord."
"Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (faith is simply believing--believing is not "work," and does not earn wages. Try that with your boss some time--"I believe I'm going to get double my paycheck this week!" You and I both know that will never happen; you have to have greater value to get more money).
In the last week before Jesus' death and resurrection, Christians think about these things, because it's His death and resurrection that secures eternal life for us, and makes us part of God's family. We believe in the free gift of God and accept His offer of everlasting life through His Son Jesus Christ, and then it becomes ours for the "nonprice" of believing. There is nothing so free as this gift, no act so simple as believing in Jesus Christ, and no gift so universally offered as this. Are you white, black, some other color? No matter. What about wealth? You don't need it. Are you smart? Jesus loves smart people. Are you a skeptic? That's ok, just taste and see that the Lord is good (a metaphor for believing); are you an evil man or woman? that's fine. God loves sinners,and came to give them eternal life--there's more joy over one sinner who repents than over 99 righteous people who need no repentance.
In short, whatever your station in life, your social condition, your intelligence, your past deeds, God is on your side, and He sent Jesus His dear Son to bring you into the "forever family of God."
Jesus put it this way:
"Whoever hears my word, and believes in Him who sent me, HAS everlasting life, and shall NOT come into judgment, but has passed from death into life."
So how's that for a free gift?? NO STRINGS. Just believe and receive what He holds out to you.
It's yours the moment you do that, and nobody and nothing can take it away once you have it.
Ever wonder what God might have to say to YOU today? Here are things to ponder, and things to receive into your heart. If you have a question, put it in the comments. I respond as much as I can.
A note for all my readers: I've been experimenting with YouTube videos for Bible teaching, and now I'm working my way through the New Testament. I encourage you to subscribe to my YouTube channel for better coverage. I'm still writing, of course, and my written posts appear here.
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
The Last Week, Part 2
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