What the World Needs Now

the crossI am humbled today.  I am humbled to think that I am so valuable to God that Jesus would die for me.  Last night, like millions of Canadians and Americans I watched Dr. Billy Graham’s last sermon (http://myhopewithbillygraham.org/programs/the-cross/).  The broadcast was entitled “The Cross”. After hearing the God-story of the two people featured on the video and the message from God’s Word, I am moved beyond words.

As a young person who had just come to faith in Jesus, I accompanied our church’s youth group to a weekend conference in Niagara Falls, Ontario.  On this particular weekend, one of the keynote messages dealt with the Cross.  As a new Christian, I will never forgot how the speaker described how valuable Jesus, God the Son was to God the Father. He talked about all the Son of God had endured to pay the penalty of the debt of sin that I owed. He talked of the Roman scourge and the cruelest form of execution that the Romans had invented called crucifixion. To top it all off, the separation for the first time in all eternity of God the Father and God the Son, you and I cannot even begin to fathom all that meant. For all the human race,  Jesus endured the shame of the cross to purchase our freedom from sin’s curse.

Have you gotten over it?  The pure, holy, lovely Son of God was made subject to the wrath of God so that we could go free! His righteousness was applied to us so that when God the Father looks at us, he sees his Son’s death and righteousness applied. God knew that this was the only way for us to be saved from his wrath. Here is the kicker for me, in John chapter 10, Jesus said that he willing laid down his life for us, no one took it from him, by his own volition he died. If that does not move your heart today you need to see either your cardiologist or your pastor or maybe even both!

The world has believed the lie of Satan that what we really need is material possessions, be the king of our lives and in control of everything! There is a reason he is called “the father of lies” in the Bible. He knows that none of those things can bring us real joy or satisfaction that lasts more than a day. But we keep trying. Even those who say they are Christians have fallen into his trap.

What the world needs now is the gospel. But the gospel is difficult, the gospel is insulting because we cannot do anything to make ourselves acceptable to God.  You cannot save yourself! The Cross of Jesus Christ is foolishness to the human race because we really think can make it on our own.  Deep down we know we cannot unless God changes our heart.

I am grateful that the Cross of Jesus, this gospel of Jesus Christ, is the only way that I can find true life. I have found out that I not only needed the gospel that day in 1978 but I need the gospel everyday! I need his grace to mold my character and shape my future. What I need now is the gospel.

You and I are so valuable to God that He would die for us. Absolutely amazing! Does that humble you, too?

The Greatest Force on Earth

“Bill, when I look at you I marvel at the grace of God.”  Now, that phrase could be taken in a couple of different ways.  It could mean “you were such a mess that only God could help you,” or it could mean “God’s grace is so wonderful that it has changed your life completely around.”  Both are true.  Let me add that it is true of everyone who have experienced His grace.

The theological definition of the grace of God is His unmerited favour accredited to us.  One who was lost because of the blindness of sin, who was on the road to perdition, and who was completely without merit to receive grace.  As a guilty criminal who finds that on the day of his sentencing that his crime has been paid for, his criminal record cleared and walks away as if he never committed a crime.  That is grace.

Grace found me when I was a grade 12 high school student who thought that life was all about sports and drinking.  I was your average teenager who did not understand or even care about spiritual things until grace found me.  It found me when I began to realize that life was more than drinking buddies and hockey games.  Grace found me while I lived in a super dysfunctional home with a domineering Mom and a Father who had walked away from God as a young man.  Grace found me when I finally understood that in light of Christ’s death and resurrection I was responsible to decide to accept His Grace!  I could not pin the blame on my parent’s for not providing the right home environment, or my schools for not providing me the kinds of friends who would encourage me to search for God.  I was at fault and I was in need of grace.

Grace, in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ, has had and continues to have a profound impact on my life.  Because of grace I have the motivation that I need to get up every morning and face the challenges that God puts in front of me.  Because of grace I see those around me who are in deep and urgent need of her.  I understand the theological/biblical argument of why people need grace, that grace that is so drastically and clearly illustrated when Christ faced the wrath of God that I deserved.  As much as I understand that argument, it is because I have experienced the truth of grace that I desire so much for each person to experience it as well!  To live without guilt because Christ died for our guilt, to live with purpose and conviction that God’s plan includes me is so liberating that it motivates me for every day that I live!

Those of us who have experienced grace at times forget what it was like to live without it.  Like, those who get up every morning and try and get through the day by their own strength.  Or, those who have convinced themselves that life is all about what one touches and sees and life is over when the heart stops beating.  Those who so live without grace need to see in us who have experienced grace models of gracefulness.  We, who have experienced the liberating power of Christ through faith in His death, burial and resurrection, must imitate our Father in heaven.  We were where they are now, let us be instruments of grace!

After all these years, I marvel at the truth that God’s grace reached even me!  I will be eternally grateful.  You?

Wonderful grace of Jesus, greater than all my sin;
How shall my tongue describe it, where shall its praise begin?
Taking away my burden, setting my spirit free,
For the wonderful grace of Jesus reaches me!

Wonderful the matchless grace of Jesus,
Deeper than the mighty rolling sea;
Higher than the mountain, sparkling like a fountain,
All-sufficient grace for even me;
Broader than the scope of my transgressions,
Greater far than all my sin and shame;
O magnify the precious name of Jesus, praise His name!