Saturday, April 7, 2012

When You've Been Sentenced to Death and Freed to Life

We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. ~Romans 6:6,7

I sat through the memorial service last evening. Cried through the whole thing. My 10 year old was with me, embarrassed by much these days, so I wiped my tears before they puddled on my lap, so as to try and not draw unwanted attention.

The musicians' instruments in the hand of the Father, massaged and pierced the heart as they told stories of remembrance of the blood that was shed, the Savior who willingly died, the Father, who graciously gave.

I don't know how many times in the past I laughed at Peter, cutting off the man's ear, because I know it could have been me, the one trying to take control and lobbing off an ear in the process. But tonight I didn't laugh. I didn't laugh because rash vows and rash actions don't mean much when you turn away from the Savior. All may leave but he would never leave, so Peter said. And then the rooster crowed, just like Jesus said it would.

And so I am pressed again to remember:
Part of my heart still reads "Pharisee" because I fear loss of place, position and power.
Part of my heart still reads "Peter" who fears for my life at the identification with Jesus.
Part of my heart reads "one of the women standing by the cross of Jesus" (Jn. 19:25)
I know it was my sin that held Him there.

If eternal life is "knowing the only True God and Jesus Christ" (Jn.17:3), eternal death must be rejecting the only True God and Jesus Christ.

Jesus didn't reveal sin so one can admire it, write about it, and relish in it. And the Holy Spirit doesn't either. No-this staying in sin, this focus on sin, this not turning-it's rejecting the One who saves, who wants to turn us from self. The gift of seeing sin-conviction- it is a gift of eyes opened to who we really are, so we can clearly see the One who really matters.

We see our sin clearly, and God begins to turn our hearts and we turn as he empowers, this repentance, a gift. And gifts are given freely.

So, I sat in the memorial service, saying over and over again in my mind, "It's not fair. It's not fair." Jesus, this just isn't fair. The way they treated you, rejected you. And the conviction of sin falls once again on my own heart: The way I treated you, rejected you.

Wait-let's get this right-The way I treat you. Reject you. I still choose self over you so many times. Your word says I am correct: The wages of sin is death. Clearly, once again, I see it, apart from You, Jesus, I deserve death. This life I've been given, it's not deserved. Not in the least.

But God. He doesn't do things the way we do them. He sent His Son to die for sinners who deserve the payment of death because it was earned by their very being, to pay their ransom-to give them an undeserved life.

For while we were still weak, at the right time, Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person-though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die-but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. (Romans 5:6-11)

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (Jn. 8:36)