Monday Morning Encouragement - The Cross of Christ
Dear Cottage Friends,
As we enter Holy Week, I'm struck once again by the tremendous sacrifice the Lord Jesus made on our behalf.
Consider this scripture verse from Romans:
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. -- Romans 5:6-11 (NIV)
And these words from Jesus:
"For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.” John 10:17-18 (ESV)
The older I get, the more precious to me is the cross of Christ. The very idea that the sinless Son of God would choose to give His life so that I might live is too wonderful to comprehend. Why? Why would He do such a thing? The answer lies, again, in the words of Jesus:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him." John 3:16-17
I no longer doubt God's love for me. I no struggle with being "good enough" to enter Heaven when I die. Beyond a shadow of a doubt I know that all my good deeds are just filthy rags in God's sight, just as Isaiah said:
"All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away." Isaiah 64:6
No, there is nothing I can do to enter into God's grace apart from accepting by faith the work of Jesus Christ on the cross and placing my trust only in Him.
HE is my righteousness.
HE is my salvation.
HE is my Lord, my Redeemer, my Savior forever.
I no longer fear death. I look forward to it. For I know that when I close my eyes with my final breath, I will immediately be in the presence of the One who loves me so fiercely that He suffered the agony and shame of the cross to secure eternal life for me. And not just for me, but for every person who would place their faith and trust in Him. Who confess that they have sinned and "fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23).
Consider the words of Peter:
"For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit." 1 Peter 1:18
Some may say that following Christ is too restrictive. That giving ones life over to Him means giving up too many things they love in this world. I once felt that way, too. However, once I confronted the truth of my sinful condition before a holy God and His righteous judgement, and recognized that Jesus had paid the price required to save me from that righteous judgement, I gladly repented and accepted Him as my Savior. Not to do so would have been foolish.
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1)
And this is why the cross of Christ is so very precious to me. There aren't enough words to express my gratitude to my Savior for His sacrifice.
I leave you with the song The Wonderful Cross by Chris Tomlin and Matt Redman.
I love you, I'm thinking of you, and I'm praying for you.