Friday, April 10, 2009
Resurrection Day Thoughts
I happened to be up later than usual watching television last night. The program I had been watching briefly showed a clip from Mel Gibson's "The Passion of Christ." I have never seen this film, because I judged that it would probably be too difficult for me to take, and I am not one that chokes up at much. Must be genetic reserve from my British/Welsh heritage. However, there are things that do choke me up -- things that most people pass over (no pun intended). I always tear up at the scene in The Ten Commandments when God is writing the Commandments on the mountain wall with a finger of fire. Moses (Charlton Heston) can barely look on as the booming voice of God is calling out the Commandments from the pillar of fire. Why does that tear me up? Because I think of the holiness of God, and how far I fall short of it.
All that set up to make this comment. After the brief clip of the "Passion" (the flogging scene), I went to bed. It was about 1:30 in the morning. I didn't get to sleep immediately. Instead, I lay there thinking about what the Lord Jesus did on the cross, and the incredible sacrifice He made for me. It is incomprehensible that the Creator Himself would humble himself to let His own creation beat Him, spit on Him, mock Him, and finally nail him to a cross of wood. But He did. And again, I felt keenly how far short I fall of His love and yes, holiness.
I then thought of so many today who call themselves "evangelicals" who want to diminish what the Lord did on that cross, especially those who deny the penal substitutionary atonement. Add to that the increasing rush to the cliff on so many key areas of biblical teaching, including sexual sin and personal holiness (including profane, vulgar and even blasphemous speech). The sinless Son of God died a brutal death to pay the price for the sins of those who are His, yet those who claim to be His deny what the Lord Himself calls sin. They can blow off biblical truth without batting an eye, making light of the very things that put Jesus on the cross to begin with.
I also think of those who are in false religious systems that call themselves Christian. The news this morning had a clip of a line of people walking down a road flogging themselves. And these were not Muslims. They were identified as Christians. And they believe that flogging themselves will help atone for their sins. Yet another outrageous slap at Christ, even though they are blind to the insult. They are saying in essence that what Jesus did on the cross wasn't good enough. Make no mistake. If you think that ANYTHING you do helps earn your salvation, you remain unregenerate and lost in your sins. Nothing you or I do can earn one drop of Christ's precious blood. He will not accept human works of righteousness. You trust in His sacrifice on the cross, or not at all.
But none of this should surprise us, should it? Jesus Himself said these very things would happen in exponential fashion at the end of the age. Yet the story doesn't end there. Yes, Jesus died on the cross for our sins. He rose again from the dead for our justification. And He is returning soon to rule and reign, and will crush all of His enemies under His feet. And that includes lying, blasphemous enemies of His who wear clerical collars.
Yes, my brothers and sisters, let not your hearts be troubled, nor let them be afraid. Atonement, resurrection and final victory in Jesus. That is what Good Friday and Resurrection Day are all about. The Lord Jesus Christ has won the victory. He did it all and gets all the glory. And He is willing to shower His mercy, grace and forgiveness on all who will repent and believe.