Why I’m Glad Christ Died For Me

Jesus Christ was made a lowly human. Maybe we don’t think being human is all that lowly, but it is, especially if you are the Almighty God. He took on Himself the form of a servant becoming obedient unto death even death on the cross.

He was wounded, beaten, mocked, scourged, spit on, and He did this in our place.  On top of all that, the real tragedy of the event, is that He was forsaken of His Father. It pleased the Lord to crush Him. He cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

The pain of crucifixion is so intense they invented a word for it–excruciating, which means “out of the cross.” It is pain that comes from dying on a cross.

Lots of people died on crosses, doing such a thing accomplishes nothing. Unless the one dying happens to be GOD IN THE FLESH taking the wrath of God on Himself for the sins of the world.

I for one am really glad that Christ died for me because now I can get drunk, cuss and swear, fornicate, and all manner of lewd things and totally get away with it! It also means God will help me buy a new car and accomplish the American Dream. And when I get cancer, He’ll just go ahead and take that away from me!

Isn’t it great that Christ suffered for me so I can live up to my full potential and accomplish all my dreams? Amen!

You and Barabbas

Barabbas was a bad guy. At some point, Barabbas started a riot, stirring up a revolution. The punishment for his treason was crucifixion.

As we know, Barabbas was released and Jesus Christ was crucified in his place.

Barabbas got off the hook and Jesus got on.

This is salvation.

Christ took your place. You should have died there, but instead He did while you were released.

I often wonder what happened to Barabbas. Did he repent? Did he start another revolt? Was he able to sleep at night?

I don’t know, there is no information about the rest of his life. I imagine he is like many who could benefit from deliverance and yet wallow in bondage.

What shall we do if we neglect so great salvation?

In Which My Hatred of Camping Illustrates Eternal Truths

Paul explains in 2 Corinthians 5 that we currently live in a tent, but we have a house in heaven. Instead of living to take care of your tent, live to prepare your house in heaven.

This is great advice! If we understood the eternalness of eternity and the temporalness of everything on earth, our priorities in life would shift immediately.

“If you love the world or the things of the world the love of the Father is not in you,” is how John puts it. “No man can serve two masters, he will love the one and hate the others, no man can serve God and mammon (money, earthly stuff),” is how Jesus puts it.

Paul says, “We would rather be absent from the body and present with the Lord, so we labor that whether present or absent, we are accepted of Him.”

I love this idea. I love it for its simplicity in calling us to lay hold of eternal life, to glory in nothing but the Lord. I love it for its counter-cultural, rebellious, non-conformist, nothing binds me mentality.

I love it because it backs up an old prejudice I have against camping. Who wants to sleep in a stinking old tent when I can go home and sleep in my house? Is this not why I bought a house?

Live for the house, not the tent.

The Trap of Music

Many years ago I had a cleaning job from 8pm until 2am. During that time there was a radio on tuned to a classic rock station. Five hours every night for two years I got classic rock music jammed into my brain.

I know em all. Beatles, Rolling Stones, The Doors, Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and many, many more. I have not purposely listened to classic rock for about 14 years now.

But every time a song comes on in a store or someone says a phrase all these words come back. The other day my wife said “People are strange.” Which inspired me to sing several lines of The Doors. “People are strange, when you’re a stranger. Faces seem ugly when you’re alone.”

I have not heard that song in years, but the words are still there. Most of the time I don’t even think about the words, what they mean, they just come out.

Music has a way of sticking in our brains. Lyrics, even if they are dumb or non-sensical, stay with us and come back with a little prompt.

In many regards, this is how people treat Scripture. We know what God has said, we can quote it, it pops in our minds, but it passes away and fades out. This is not a good thing. Ezekiel judged Israel like this,

“And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not.”

We hear them, we know them, we can say them, but did they really sink in? Hey, you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

Nothing Doubting

Doubt is a killer. It keeps us from doing what is right. At the same time, doubt can save your life as it can keep you from doing what is wrong!

The Greek word for doubt means “double standing.” It’s a neat word picture. You keep one foot on solid ground and another foot out on the thin ice to see if it will hold.

Using doubt to test ice is a good thing. But if God commanded you to walk on the ice then doubt is a bad thing. Think of Peter walking on the water. Jesus grabs his hand as he is sinking and says “Oh you of little faith, why did you doubt? (Why did you double stand)?”

Ever have one of those moments where you know what you’re supposed to do, an act of obedience to God and you are completely freaked out about it? I have one of those things right now. I know I should, but I’m afraid.

I’ll admit it readily, I’m freaked out. Don’t want to. Don’t even know how to really. I want to dabble in it, put one foot out, test the water. Actually, I’m not even sure I want to do that.

I hate doubt when it leads to doubting the wrong thing. The opposite of faith is doubt. Lord I believe, help thou mine unbelief.

The Non-Adventuresome, Mundane Call of Christ

I was looking for something regarding the Great Commission and I came across a web site that described the Great Commission as “A timeless and wonderful adventure in faith for all Christians.”

Currently people use words like “adventure” and “extreme” or maybe even the hyper-radical “X-treme” for those who really like it on the edge, to describe the Christian life.

I understand the desire to do this. No one wants to say that following Christ is boring, that doesn’t really sound good or holy. But I have to be honest, it’s not exactly an X-treme non-stop adventure.

It reminds me of the local mini-golf course that promises “an unequaled miniature golf experience! The adventures and legends of infamous pirates come to life in our award-winning theme park settings.”

What this really means is that you’ll be surrounded by screaming kids who smack you in the shin with their putter and launch your scuffed up, nearly square golf ball into a scum-covered pond filled with cigarettes.

The problem with advertising the Great Commission as a great adventure is that it really isn’t, at least not in the way people generally define the word “adventure.”

In fact, what Christ is doing is calling people to a way of life. It’s a day-to-day existence with some triumphs and many failures. If you’re doing it for the thrills, expect to be disillusioned quickly.

We are called to run a race, not an “X-treme Gr8 Race” either, just a race. A long, tedious, injury filled race of faith. Our only advice for this race is–put off sin that besets us and run. Just run. Day in and day out. Run.

Keep running. Then run. Run some more. Do it again tomorrow. And the next day. And the next day. Just keep running until you reach the end. The prize at the end is the thrilling adventure. Make sure you make it.

Hammer Time

God’s Word is the greatest treasure we have on earth. This is our source of life,  joy and peace. This is the written word of God that makes people wise unto salvation. This is the quick and powerful sword of the Spirit. The word that fully equips a man to every good work.

The Word of God is usually talked about in all-positive terms. It’s something we delight in and cherish. But it’s a mistake to think of the Word as something that delights believers and something we cut up non-believers with. God is no respecter of persons, nor is His Word.

Jeremiah 23:29 is beautiful, it gets little attention in our favorite verses about the Bible. I’d like to shed some light on it. Consider it. Think about it.

“Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?”

Oh, that’s some beautiful stuff right there. Have ya been burned my brother! Have you been smashed to pieces by the hammer of God’s Word? I can hear sermons already.