Sunday, March 17, 2013
Everything in the Christian life is about faith. There is an element of service to it, but mostly it's just about faith. To begin with, you need to believe that God IS. You have to believe that He exists. Now you might believe that somewhere, "out there" that there is a Supreme Being who exists, but it doesn't do you much good if God exists and He doesn't care any more about you than you care about an ant under your foot. So you need to believe that He not only exists, but that He cares about you.
There are many places in the Bible that tell us that He does care, like: John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 1 Peter 5: 7 Casting all your care upon him; for he cares for you. Psalm 55:22 Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.
God cares, and as we approach Easter we are reminded of just how much God does care. You see the penalty for sin is death. You don't agree? That's OK. The penalty is still death. God IS and one of the things that He IS, is the Creator of all things. It's His universe, He gets to make the rules. You don't like it? Tough. God is still God and He calls the shots.
He's not only God the Loving and God the Creator, He's also, God the Righteous. and God the Holy. Sin can't track alongside a Holy and Righteous God. Sin is an old fashioned word. We don't think of it, or understand it much these days, but it really just means, that you missed the mark. You tried for the bulls eye, but you missed it. This Holy and Righteous God, set down some rules to live by, things like; don't murder, don't steal, don't covet and some other rules like don't worship anyone except God, don't take His name in vain and other rules. You probably know what they are, or if you don't, you can Google them.
These rules are called the 10 commandments, but when Jesus was talking about them in Luke 10:27, He said they really boil down to just 2. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. Ever get really annoyed with someone? Was that loving? No? Then you missed the mark. You don't have to break any of what we might think of as the biggies, like murdering someone, just treat another person in an unloving way, and you missed the mark. What happens when you miss the mark? There's a penalty for it. Do you think you could go through life and never blow it? No? Me either.
See, God recognized that we don't have the capacity to always, with everyone, do the right thing. So He came up with this really bizarre plan to fix the situation. Sin has this huge penalty. It's death. Death is permanent. There's no do-over. Finito. Done.
So how does a Holy and Righteous God, who knows that the penalty for sin is going to condemn us to death keep us from killing ourselves, by default? He gets someone else to take the fall for us. Well that might work, but who is going to be crazy enough to apply for THAT job. No one, that's who. So God did it Himself. They are His rules. Break them and some one has to pay the price. No one else could, so God put His own head on the chopping block and died, so that we didn't have to.
God took all of the sin, all of the crap and corruption that WE did, onto Himself. He took the death penalty, so that we don't have to die. Now here's the thing. This substitution that He did, only works, if we want it to, it isn't automatic. It's like a Monopoly, "get out of jail free card" that's available to anyone, but you have to play the card. You have to believe that God really does love YOU so much, that he was willing to take the death you deserved and give you life instead.
That's where faith comes in. 1 John 1:9 says If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. You missed the mark. So don't be an idiot, admit it. He has already promised to forgive it. He'll wash away all the garbage, and let you start over with a clean slate. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Just admit that you blew it, and ask Him to forgive you and make everything on the inside new again.
Not only does He wipe out the old, bad stuff, He, Himself will take up residence inside you. Can you imagine how easy it can be to live a perfect life if God is on the inside helping you? The amazing thing, is that you will know, that He is there, and He is real. Don't waste another day in the same old rut. It's time for a new beginning. You won't regret it.
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