“What you fail to realize is that it should have been you.”
Mmmm! That was a lingering line from a Spoken Word by Janette…Ikz of P4CM during our amazing New Year’s Eve service at ALFC. You’ll see/hear it beginning at about 3:28minutes of the embedded video above. The statement struck a chord with me as I remembered a conversation I had a few years ago with a fellow “believer.” I emphasized how it was actually I who deserved everything that was done to my savior Jesus Christ. This guy said to me ‘don’t be so hard on your self.’ WHAT?
Then why was God “so hard on” Jesus? Why didn’t he spare Him the lowly birth; false accusations and unfair trial; 6 inch nails on His hands and feet; the crown of thorns that pierced His head; the 39 brutal lashes that ripped His total body and left him beastly, beyond human recognition? What do we think it means when we quote verses and say “He paid the price for our sins?” Religion often allows us to recite things but never internalize the true meaning.
My other question is this: Is it possible that some church born believers with pretty okay records (through human eyes) think that Jesus’ work was more so for the really (morally) awful sinners out there who have now come to believe? As in the “Ex-Somethings?” Would this be called new covenant Phariseeism? Do we understand the gravity of sin even at it’s conception (thoughts) as it compares to an Awesome, Holy God? Have we grasped that a “white lie” or self-led ambition was enough to cause Jesus to go to the cross in our place? After all, Adam and Eve didn’t murder or rape anyone in the garden… they simply disobeyed, which is just what sin is.
God is not a sadist or child abuser. He did not commit Himself through His son to pay the brutal consequence of sin if indeed the wages of sin wasn’t death- our eternal death in Hell which is infinitely worse than anything done to the body.
This “fellow” I spoke of obviously never personalized the weight of Jesus’ sacrifice for him or the point of substitution. Yes, he had a form of religion, and oddly enough, still lived and defended his pretty loose Christian life. Not broken.
My statement wasn’t one of self-degradation or false humility. I wasn’t in need of self-esteem therapy, (which seems to be trying to push it’s way into the church ahead of the TRUTH). It was a VALUING. An awestruck wonder of God’s amazing justice, mercy and grace– who looked only to Himself to get you and me back, because His character is Love. He couldn’t have made His decision on our merit. ‘Never did, ‘never will.
As Neil Anderson of Freedom in Christ Ministries said, and I paraphrase: “Justice is getting what you deserve. Mercy is not getting what you deserve. But God is just, and justice must be served, so He took on what you deserved. As great as that sounds it is unfortunately where we tend to end the gospel. We forget the continued empowerment to live the new life called GRACE. Grace is getting more than you could ever deserve!
Understanding with gratitude the value of your freedom actually ignites you to make the most of your freedom!
In Front of “The Perfect Mirror”