Friday, April 2, 2010

It's Good

Today is Good Friday. We normally use the word "good" when describing food we enjoy, a movie, or having a favorable outlook in our day. It was hard not to use the word "good" too many times in the last setence, because it is such a common word!! We say "Good Friday" because of the choice of Jesus to subject Himself to an earthly ridicule, suffering, and death. The form of capital punishment that Jesus suffered is one the most cruel forms of death ever designed. This type of suffering for the God of the universe? The King of Kings? Why did he go through with it? He could have called on legions of angels to wipe out those mocking fools, or those who were shredding His back open with the whip called the cat of nine tails. This is the script we like to see in movies, the good guy is saved from all the torture and pain. Jesus chose to stay in God's will because He knew that it was the only way that our sins could be paid for. "He made Him who know no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might be the righteousness of God." II Cor 5:21 Jesus knew no sin. He never sinned, and because of this, it allowed Him to be the sacrifice for us, suffer the punishment for our sins, and give us the opportunity to be saved. Here are some verses that help explain this important truth:

Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

We have all sinned, which means falling short of being a perfect person. "Nobody's perfect" is certainly true for all of us.

Once we see this idea that we have all sinned, then we need to answer the question "So what?"
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The wages or results of sin are death. Now, we are all here to talk about sinning, and are not dead, so the death can't mean physical death. This death is a separation from God that is only fully realized once a person dies physically. Separation from God at the point of physical death means that a person is in hell. The death from sin on this side of the grave is experienced by not being able to be close to God, which typically shows itself with a sense of emptiness, feeling like there is much more to life etc. This is not a perfect science on describing spiritual death, but it is certainly real. The contrast in this verse to death is very strong, that there is a free gift of eternal life in Christ Jesus. More on this later....

John 3:16 helps us understand more about this free gift of salvation that saves us from the spiritual death that comes from sin. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

The key word in the verse is "believe." Believing is not the same as knowing. We can know that it is a good thing to eat right and exercise. It is only when we act on this information that we can say we believe the information. More on this idea to come....

2 Cor 5:21 helps to explain more how Jesus was our sacrifice to God for our sin, and that we can be righteous.
"He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."

All of God's wrath toward sin was expressed to Jesus when he suffered on the cross.

Now that we have a more clear picture of what "good" means with Good Friday, there is one more step that is needed. We can agree with the concept in our heads that we have sinned, and we can agree that there is a spiritual death, or separation with God. We can appreciate all the sacrifice that Jesus provided, and yet if don't take this last step, it becomes of no value to us personally. It is like someone else's mail. This last step of believing, and expressing this belief verbally to God is the point when we make it real for us. The truth is there for us to believe, and now we must take action to make it truth that we are believing.

Romans 10:9
If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved

If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord.... you will be saved - This is very important!!

God hears our prayers. You can pray this: "God, thank you for dying on the cross. I have sinned and am separated from you right now. I believe that Jesus died on the cross for my sins, and that I can have eternal life. Thank you for saving me." If you express this to God, He will hear you, and forgive your sins. God will also throw a huge party in heaven celebrating your forgiveness, and new life in Christ. Other Christians will also throw a party if you tell them about your new life in Christ.

Good Friday is really good, because we have a God who saw our need, came to earth, subjected Himself to mocking and suffering, died on the cross, rose from the dead, and wants everyone to experience His love and forgiveness.

Have a great Easter weekend.

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