"Thoughts along the Narrow Path"

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"If I speak with human eloquence and anglic ecstasy, but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love." -

(1 Corinthians 13: 1- 7)

 

Understanding the sacrifice of Jesus.

As I type this, we are just two weeks away from Easter (2023). Therefore, I felt like this was a good time to write about Jesus's sacrifice on the cross, and why it is so important. I've heard many people who simply didn't understand the whole concept, and I get why that can be an issue. In my younger days, I didn't really understand it either.

I remember hearing the story of Jesus dying on the cross and being told that he did this willingly, to take the punishment for our sins. I didn't really understand why that was needed.

In order to REALLY understand it, you really need to understand what "sin" is according to the Bible. Most people think of sin simply as doing something bad, like murdering someone or stealing. It's much deeper than that, and in my NEXT blog, I will try to explain it from God's perspective (at least as stated in the Bible. I do not claim to have God's understanding of the world or anything).

 

 

However, for THIS post, I think we will temporarily skip over that, and just understand that sin is something me, you, and every single person that has EVER walked this earth....EXCEPT for Jesus... is guilty of.

In the Bible, if you turn to the book of "Romans", chapter 6, verse 23...it says: "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (New King James version). 

God resides in Heaven. Heaven is a pure and holy place. Sin does not, and CAN NOT exist there.

Every single one of us, with no exception other than Jesus himself, is, and always has been, born into sin. Sin just comes naturally to us, Even as small children who are just learning to speak, we tell lies and get into things that we know our parents don't want us getting into. It's just human nature. As we grow, we find ourselves in situations where we lie to avoid trouble or to not hurt someone's feelings, or whatever. Sometimes we lie, and we aren't even sure why we do it. We steal, usually little things like pens from the office, or from someone in our class, or whatever. For some, they do even more. As my next blog will explain, we do a lot more, that we don't even think about as sin...but it is. Therefore, we can not be in God's presence in heaven. None of us. Not one single one of us is sinless enough to go to heaven. Therefore, we are ALL on the road to hell. I know, it's not a pleasant thing to think about, and many people want to either not think about it at all or just want to deny it altogether.

The simple reality is that we are ALL on that road, whether we like it or not.

However, God loves us, like a father loves his children. No father wants to have his children kept away from them, and God doesn't want us kept away from him either.

This is one of the reasons that he sent his only son, Jesus Christ, to live on earth as a human. He became one of us and lived as we live. However, Jesus came to live a sinless life, for more than just one reason. I'll explain the other big reason in a future post.

As everyone will tell you, one reason was to take the penalty for our sins. Since the "wages," or "cost," of sin is death....and we all have sin in us, therefore we can't get into heaven.... the only way to cleanse us of that sin is through death. Not our own death, but a SACRIFICIAL death. Why not our own death? Simple. Death is more than just an end to this life. In fact, what we on Earth call death, isn't really the final death. The final death is eternity without God, in Hell. The salvation of sin requires death AS A WILLING SACRIFICE. However, LIFE is the ultimate gift of God. Therefore, purposely ending a human life, even if it is your own, is a sin. And if you die because someone else kills you, or due to disease or natural causes, then the choice isn't yours... therefore no sacrifice was WILLINGLY made.

Is this getting a little confusing?

What does the word "sacrifice" actually mean? Many people seem to think it means to kill something or someone in a ritualistic way. That's not really what it means. Sacrifice means to give up something of high value. This is why in the old days, when many people were farmers and animal herders, they were told to give the finest grain or crops from the harvest, or the finest, most unblemished sheep, goats, or cattle. They weren't supposed to just pull any sheep from the flock, or whatever grain fell on the ground. They were to pick the BEST. The most valuable. THAT was a sacrifice.

However, the ULTIMATE sacrifice was needed to cleanse the entire WORLD of its sin. It had to be God's only son. God in human form. The most precious, and valuable thing that the Most High Creator of the universe had. And that son had to die in the most brutal, horrific way, in order to pay a high enough price to cover us all. It's something that takes a while to really wrap your head around.

 

 

As a father, I can't even think about the THOUGHT of allowing ANY of my children to endure something like that. It is too horrible. I love them all far too much. I'd rather endure it myself than have them go through it.
That is also what makes it the ultimate sacrifice.

And Jesus came to earth willingly. He was not forced, but CHOSE to come and be that sacrifice. He CHOSE to endure that horrific pain and torture. He CHOSE to be spat upon and made fun of. He CHOSE to endure all of this, from God's own chosen people. (No, I am not writing this as an attack on anyone who is Jewish. It was foretold, and happened exactly as it had to for the sins of the world to be cleansed).

Jesus did all of this when he had the power to stop it at any time. But he knew that he had to endure it so that the price would be paid, and the way to heaven would be open for all of us.

Using the titles of some classic rock and roll songs to paraphrase..... All of us are traveling on the "highway to hell" in our life. Only by accepting the truth of his sacrifice, and the fact that he did so for you, and for me, and for everyone....can we detour and get on the "Stairway to Heaven". (Sorry...I just had to do it. lol)

If you have not accepted Jesus into your life and accepted his sacrifice for your sake, I pray that you will do so, urgently. Tomorrow is never guaranteed, and in the end, billions, upon billions, upon billions of people will stand before the throne of God and wish they had not put it off. I pray that you will not be one of those people.

May God bless you all.

**Podcast coming soon**