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But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (New International Version, Rom. 5.8) 1.
You made it! Can I say how grateful and humbled I am that you stuck with me through all five parts of this series? Thank you. I praise God for planting a seed of curiosity in you – for if it wasn’t for His pursuit of you, you would have lost interest and dropped me after day 2. I have been waiting patiently to share these final thoughts with you – they are by far the most important. (If you’re just joining us, I encourage you to go to Part 1 of our series and start from the beginning – it will make more sense!).
5) Bottom Line – Its not about other believers, but The One you believe in.
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart (Jer. 29.13) 2.
But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness (Psal. 86.15) 3.
At the end of the day, one person, or a group of people, or your mom, or your friend, or your nephew, or your co-worker, or anyone, will ever full embody Christ. He is in a category all His own. At its core, the whole of Christianity begins with, and centers around, the love relationship between you and Christ…and maturity in Christ depends on the rate by which this relationship flourishes and blossoms. Everything flows out of the strength of this relationship, including your capacity to approach others in love.
We will never be perfect reflections of Him and, unfortunately, we don’t always represent Him well, although we desperately want to. To properly understand what Christianity can mean for you, you have to get to know Christ for who He is, and look past us as individual, flawed people. If you earnestly seek Him with an open heart, He promises you will find Him 4. And when you do, you will begin to understand that He is the definition of love.
Allow me to explain.
On earth, He was fully human and subject to every temptation just like us. Yet, He did not sin 5. He was also fully God with the power to stop His suffering at any time 6. Yet, He did not stop it. He chose to submit Himself to death on a cross, a perfect and unblemished being 7.
Because He knew we, as flawed and sinful people, cannot come into the presence of a Holy Perfect God and live with Him in eternity. We are covered in a great big hot mess, with no way to get rid of it. By definition, perfection and imperfection cannot coexist. But Jesus, being perfect, could come before God on our behalf. So He did 8.
But why did He have to die?
This is always such a great and important question. Understanding the relationship between our sin against God, our rightful punishment of death for that sin, and the reasoning behind Jesus’ death is paramount. To start, the following analogy is the best way I have ever heard our sin against God explained (paraphrased from the book Follow Me by David Platt)9:
If you slapped a cab driver while seated in his car, the worst that may happen is he may pull over and throw you out of the car. If you slapped a person at random, his/her group of friends may beat you up. Slap a police officer and you may be arrested. What if it was the leader of a country? Depending on who it was, you may go to prison or possibly receive capital punishment. Basically, the higher the rank, the more severe the consequence will be, possibly unto death, even for a single, small infraction (sin).
This is where we have to stop and understand WHO we have offended with our sin. We have offended the Most High God. We have a tendency to treat Him casually, like the cab driver, but He demands our full reverence and respect – as He should. He is God Almighty, the Creator of the universe, the Creator of every living thing, the Creator of you and me. He is sovereign over all, so our punishment for sinning against Him is, justifiably, death…even for committing just one seemingly “minor” sin 10.
Its serious business.
Consider this – we would NEVER walk straight up to the leader of North Korea and yell obscenities, steal his possessions, or mock him – we would immediately face execution. God is infinitely greater than every people group and government on earth. Rightfully, God could destroy us for even thinking about acting that way. But thankfully, He doesn’t. God could strike us down but chooses not to. Why? Because He emanates love and is full of grace and mercy for us 11 .
In fact, His love is fighting for you right now, even though you are currently at odds with Him 12.
So, out of that love, He has given us a way to be innocent before Him. That way is through Jesus and believing Him for who He says He is, the Son of God, sent to us as a perfect sacrifice to die for our sins against God 13. When we believe and put our trust in Jesus, and we make Him Lord and Savior over our lives, what God sees is no longer a blemished human who has offended Him, but a perfect image of Christ…and so our debt to God is erased, forgiven, as if it never happened 14.
For a modern day example, imagine you were standing before a judge, knowingly guilty, and someone offered to take your rightful punishment and the judge allowed it. You got to walk free because the other person loved you more than you could imagine and stood in your place. Your debt was transferred away from you, gone forever. Wouldn’t you feel a sense of awe and wonder at his actions? That’s what Jesus did 15. Think about that and let it sink in for a minute.
So, who do you know that would take your punishment in court? Who do you know that would die for you? I think I know a few, but when push comes to shove, I’m not really sure if they would go through with it.
He already did.
For you and for me.
Without either of us asking, begging, or pleading.
Now that, my friends, is the definition of love.
I call Him Lord and Savior because that is what He is. He saved me in every way, so I trust that He can lead my life as my Lord. He loves me and knows what is best for me. My love for Him comes because He loved me first, which he displayed for the world to see while on the cross in my place 16. Out of His love for me, I have love and compassion for you.
And, friend, once you grasp these concepts and understand them for yourself personally, only then have you begun to understand Christianity, the meaning of a saving relationship with Christ, and the walk of Christian faith for what it truly is.
And that person who turned you off to Christianity in the first place?
I hope you realize its just an imperfect person on the journey of faith in Christ and I pray you are able to let the weight of your assumptions or negative experience lift off your heart so it can be opened again. Rather, I encourage you to focus your eyes on Jesus alone, the only One who perfectly represents our Father in heaven. He offers love, peace, and joy like you’ve never known before.
Take a leap of faith and consider Him for yourself.
I promise, you won’t be sorry.
Thank you so much for joining me in this series. I am so thankful for each and every one of you. I will continue to pray for you, your families, and your hearts. If this moved you in any way, I would love to know about it so I can serve you further. Please feel free to leave a comment or send me a question. God bless you!
With love and In Christ,
- The Bible. New International Version. Bible Gateway/Biblica, 2011. BibleGateway.com, www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans+5%3A8&version=NIV. Accessed 11 Dec. 2018.
- The Bible. New International Version. Bible Gateway/Biblica, 2011. BibleGateway.com, www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=jeremiah+29%3A13&version=NIV. Accessed 11 Dec. 2018.
- The Bible. New International Version. Bible Gateway/Biblica, 2011. BibleGateway.com, www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=psalm+86%3A15&version=NIV. Accessed 11 Dec. 2018.
- See Jeremiah 29:13
- See Matthew 4:1-11
- See John 10:30
- See Philippians 2:6-8
- See 2 Corinthians 5:21.
- “The Great Invitation.” Follow Me: A Call to Die. A Call to Live. by David Platt and Francis Chan, Tyndale House Publishers, 2013, pp. 31–32.
- See Hebrews 9:22.
- See Exodus 34:6; Psalm 145:8.
- See Romans 5:8-9; Ephesians 2:13.
- See John 14:6
- See Isaiah 1:18; Isaiah 53:5; Matthew 26:28; Ephesians 1:7; Ephesians 2: 8-9; 1 Peter 1:18-19.
- See Ephesians 2:8-9; John 3:16; 1 Peter 2:24.
- See Romans 5:8; 1 John 4:19.