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“I am wholly deserving of all the consequences that I will in fact never receive simply because God unashamedly stepped in front of me on the cross, unflinchingly spread His arms so as to completely shield me from the retribution that was mine to bear, and repeatedly took the blows. And I stand entirely unwounded, utterly lost in the fact that the while His body was pummeled and bloodied to death by that which was meant for me and me alone, I have not a scratch.” ― Craig D. Lounsbrough
Thinking of the death of our Savior, Jesus Christ in our stead and on our behalf is a humbling and solemn line of thinking. That our God would condescend to such forceful and costly action to save us, a wayward and rebellious race of people that had completely rejected His love and leadership over us, is stunning in its depth and breadth. The love of our God for humans who bear His image is beyond comprehension. It defies adequate description.
This gift of redemption we commemorate is perhaps the most prominent in a seemingly endless parade of gifts of love given to us by our God. While the vast majority of humanity, and even a great number of those who claim to follow Him, are largely unaware of our God’s generosity and grace toward all people, and especially toward those who chose to follow Him as disciples. Following are just a few, a sample, really, of the many gifts of our God to us when we choose to be true disciples of His Son, our Savior. Look at how our God loves and redeems!
We are saved from the consequences of our rebellion and our resulting sin nature, consequences that include separation from our God now and for eternity. This separation is the essence of spiritual death and the cause of death infecting our physical bodies. Now, though the body dies (true for all beings), the spiritual life of the person who is a true disciple of Christ Jesus lives past death.
We are reconciled to our God. We were separated from Him by our sin and rebellion, at odds with Him without any way for us to remedy that problem. To be reconciled means to have all differences, variances, and errors removed, and so our God has done for us in our redemption though Jesus Christ. We could never do this for ourselves, for we in our guiltiness are incapable of the cost of reconciliation – the payment of a pure and sinless life. Only a willing, sinless person could be the sacrifice to reconcile us to our God. Jesus was that willing, perfect sacrifice.
We are adopted as children of our God and as heirs in His Kingdom. We gain a share as joint heirs of Jesus Christ Himself, God’s Son. This is wealth unimaginable to the human mind, far exceeding anything we could ever hope to gain on our own in this life or for eternity.
We have become new creations in Christ Jesus, “new creatures,” so to speak. This is sometimes referred to as being regenerated or “born again.” By this I mean we are given the life of Christ in us by the Holy Spirit of Christ placed in the regenerated disciple. We no longer live by our own life and means, but now have the life of Christ in us, enabling us to live a new level of life daily.
We are the dwelling place of our God Himself because His Holy Spirit is placed in us. The tearing of the veil in the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem at the moment of Christ Jesus’ death indicated His departure from the building in the midst of the people. The arrival of the Holy Spirit into the people of God on that first Christian Pentecost signaled His placement into the humans who are His disciples. The manifested presence of our God can no longer be found in a building anywhere on earth. He lives directly in the life of every true follower.
We have become priests in our God’s eternal kingdom. We no longer need any priest above us except Christ Jesus, our heavenly high priest. We need no one to mediate between us and our God nor do we need anyone to officiate the things of God to us. Christ Jesus Himself is our high priest, our only necessary mediator, and the one who officiates directly in us all we need for life and godliness.
“God proved His love on the Cross. When Christ hung, and bled, and died, it was God saying to the world, ‘I love you.’” Billy Graham
Stay tuned for more on our God’s great gifts to us.