Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Depth of His Love. The Weight of His Sacrifice.

On any given day throughout any given year, there will be moments when I find myself completely and utterly overwhelmed by the grace and love of God. Most of the time, when I think about exactly what God did in sending His Son to the cross, the depth of that kind of love and mercy in that kind of sacrifice… Well, my heart falls silent, and all I can manage is a soft and shaky, "Thank you."

One Sunday a year, we specifically celebrate that love and that sacrifice. Easter, the day Christ conquered sin and death and Satan himself by willfully giving His own life and then resurrecting Himself in victory. As humans, I don't know that we will ever be able to fully appreciate what this means. 

In Genesis, God created man and woman as His crowning work. The epitome of all there is. A reflection of Himself. He created them to live in communion with Him and with one another. 

And mankind rebelled. Walked away from God. Decided to follow his own will instead of that of his Creator.

And God did not just wash His holy hands of us and walk away.

He already had a plan set in motion to redeem us to Himself. A plan so audacious that I think we would be hard pressed to find anyone on the face of this earth who would do the same.


Jesus and the audacity of the cross.

Audacious because the Creator of all that there is humbled Himself, condescended to being man just so that He could give Himself up to ransom us back to Him.

The depth of His love. The weight of His sacrifice.

This is a truth worth celebrating.

I live right smack in the middle of the Bible Belt. Church culture is very much a part of life here in Birmingham. For most of us, it is not, "Do you go to church?" but "Where do you go to church?" And while I love being in a place where Jesus is discussed so freely, it is hard sometimes to break ties with cultural Christianity. To move from Jesus being something you do on Sundays to having an authentic relationship with Him.

And this was heavy on my heart this weekend. As I sat in church on Sunday morning listening to our pastor present the truth of the Gospel, I felt my heart hurting. I think this is springing up from a lot of things. The struggle I see with cultural Christianity. The belief held by many that we can make Jesus who and what we want Him to be so that we do not have change anything in our lives in order to follow Him. The rite and ritual that have replaced relationship. The watering down of the Word of God and commands of Christ so as not to offend. The things I read from professing Christians that seem quite contrary to Biblical truth.

It can be a bit overwhelming.

And in the face of all these things, it is so easy to lose sight of the thing that matters most.

Jesus Christ.

It is much easier to argue doctrinal differences, assert my opinion over that of another, judge from afar, make Jesus fit into my life, treat my faith as something that must be convenient in order to be real. But that is not what Jesus is about.

Jesus is about a drastic departure from the ways of this world. He is about abandoning what is comfortable, easy and convenient for me in order to give Him the glory He so richly deserves. Jesus is about the recognition of sin and repentance. He is about standing firmly rooted in faith and truth in the face of adversity. And He is about love, the greatest love there is: sacrifice.

Looking at the life of Jesus and everything leading up to it since the creation of the world, none of it makes much logical sense. God created, man rebelled, God pursued, God sacrificed, man is redeemed. But that is our God. He, in His great love for us, abandons reason and "fairness" in order to bring us back to Him, choosing the most unlikely way of doing so in sacrificing His own Son in our place. Giving Jesus what we deserved, what should have been ours to endure. And our response to that, I think, should be one of overwhelming humility and gratitude. Our response should not be about us at all. It should be about Him. About the depth of His love and the weight of His sacrifice.

And I hope you know Him. I hope you love Him and are letting Him love you.

And if you don't know Him, I hope and pray that you will give Him a chance. He has demonstrated His great love for you by laying down His own life and then conquering death to ransom your heart back to Him. Life with Him is not easy, but it is worth it. It is worth being loved and redeemed by a great and glorious God. It is worth giving up conveniences and replacing them with faith in the hard things. It is worth knowing, really knowing, the Savior.

"But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: 
While we were still sinners, 
Christ died for us." 
Romans 5:8 


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