first off, i must say, i need to be more intentional about making time to write.
last night's message was amazing but i feel like it's not going to be as good because it's already 24 hours old and not as fresh. but i will definitely try and do it justice!
what i took away from last night's message was this.
and it's the essential core of the gospel: GOD'S LOVE IS RADICAL!
we all know John 3:16:
"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."but how much do we reallllllly think about the implications of that verse?
i know that, honestly, i don't think about it much.
John 3:16 is one of the first Bible verses i memorized as a 5th grader when i started going to AWANA.
but when i read Romans 3:21-26, i am reminded of the power of the Cross.
"But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus."in short, this passage points out the fact that Christ didn't just die for Jews (God's chosen people), He died for Jews AND Gentiles (non-Jews) because we have all sinned, but Christ's death justifies us; we are redeemed by faith in hims, not works (hence the word GRACE which means "unmerited gift");
...and now for the theological whopper: as a propitiation by his blood so that he may cast away our sin as if it never happened ... and with that, i give you the word: atonement.
okay, so what do all the big words mean?
it means that sin has been paid for.
it has been cast as far as the east is from the west.
what does this mean for us?
God loves us far greater than we can ever imagine!
God didn't have to send Jesus to save us.
but we wouldn't be justified in his sight - we would still have to carry around our sin.
we wouldn't ever experience eternal life. we would be forever separated from Him.
Romans 6:23a: "For the wages of sin is death..."
but He did!
and i don't know about you, but that is pretty radical.
now nothing can separate us from His love (Romans 8:38-39).
we can live without guilt because we have been redeemed.
our past is behind us. and we are called to surrender and have faith IN HIM because we have been forgiven and redeemed and we are to live FOR HIM because without Him we have nothing.
Wes challenged us to do just that.
our sins are behind us. we don't need to carry the burden of them.
we are to repent and turn away from our evildoing and begin to live for him.
the point that struck me the most was that Christ's death was a gift in the sense that He was taking away our sins - our reason for guilt and shame. but in order for it to be a gift, we have to accept it.
we must accept His grace, otherwise we are turning away His redemption and forgiveness.
"...but the GIFT of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" -Romans 6:23b
so what is holding you back and keeping you from experiencing the gift that Christ is calling us to receive??