For July 4, 2021
The evening Jesus Christ spent with His Disciples just before His crucifixion has always fascinated me, as I wonder what our Lord was thinking and feeling. There is a commentary on our Lord’s contemplation in Romans that captivates me (my emphasis),
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But, God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:6-8 NIV).
The first Adam’s disobedience introduced sin into God’s perfect world, which resulted in our spiritual and physical deaths. Our spiritual death or sin nature, which separates us from God forever, happened instantaneously. But physical death came gradually—as we age and die.
In essence, God created us to be holy (sinless), and to live forever in His perfect world. But because of Adam’s disobedience, our world is full of sin, sadness, anxiety, fear, pain, disease, trouble, and death. Thus as the Bible teaches, all of us will sin, and all of us will die. (Romans 3:23, 5:14, 6:23)
In addition, we are sinners by nature. Thus, all of our “good deeds” are corrupt and sin-polluted. A splendid illustration would be how when men wore white dress shirts and carrying a fountain pen in the shirt breast pocket was a common practice. Often, the ink pen leaked, and the slightest ink spot on the white shirt ruined the shirt—completely!
As the ink spot polluted the shirt, sin has polluted our righteousness. On our best day, we are still worthless before a holy God (who has never been polluted), and our self-righteousness and pride become filthy rags before His righteousness,
We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind (Isaiah 64:6 NLT).
However, this is not the case with Jesus Christ. He was without sin and fully aware His death would redeem all fallen humanity from sin and restore us to a loving, eternal fellowship with God,
Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous (Romans 5:18-19 NKJV).
It is truly unbelievable how Jesus freely chose to offer Himself to redeem the entire world; whether Jew, Gentile, rich, poor, believer or non-believer. All of us can vicariously receive the full benefit of His perfect sacrifice—without preference or distinction. No longer can Satan, sin, and death overpower us and bind us. Our faith in His perfect, work determines our righteousness (or lack thereof) before our Heavenly Father.
Ultimately, Jesus chose to redeem those who love Him, those who hate Him, those who believe in Him, and those who do not believe in Him. This idea of “equal atonement” is difficult for the modern mind to capture fully. Not concerning Christ’s saving efficacy as His sacrifice remediates all our sins forever.
However, His commitment to give Himself freely and willingly for every man, woman, boy, and girl—past, present, and future—so comprehensively, is difficult to fathom. Such an action is not a normal human response, especially toward someone we feel is “less desirable.”
Sacrificing for a loved one is conceivable when our love for them or our desire to protect them motivates us. However, choosing to sacrifice our lives for an enemy or someone who dislikes us is extremely hard to envision.
History has shown there may be certain situations where we would risk life and limb for someone we might not necessarily care for. During the Second World War, for example, cultural issues fostered adversarial relationships that fragmented our troops occasionally. Although these valiant men and women may have been divided, they proved themselves more than willing to sacrifice for their adversary’s greater good by fighting and dying to spare the world from the global tyranny of the Axis powers.
Fast-forward eighty years to our current global pandemic. We have replaced our noble altruism with a cold-hearted malevolence as we maliciously engage in “germ warfare” by unleashing a virus that targets innocent victims with underlying health issues around the world. Then, we withhold vital technologies and politicize medical remedies that can prevent and treat illness and improve our overall health and safety, and we hoard or resell safety supplies at inflated prices and expose those who are vulnerable with premorbidities to even more peril.
I am saddened by the barbarism plaguing human hearts today. Truly, the Enemy is at work in the callous and malicious disregard for human dignity witnessed in the indiscriminate killing of the unborn and helpless, the calculated euthanization of the weak and aged, and the exploitation, abuse, trafficking, oppression, and violence perpetrated against all those who fall between these two extremes. Ultimately, we have reduced precious, God-given lives to mere dollars and cents.
People will “sell their souls” for anything. Our heartlessness is most unfortunate because technology, education, politics, military, and industry do not make our country great. It is our faith in God, and the Judeo-Christian values we embrace and uphold, as the Scriptures attest, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34 NKJV).
Oh, what sorrow and despair await those of us who insist “evil is good and good is evil, that dark is light and light is dark, that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter” (Isaiah 5:20 NLT). A civilized people must exercise vigilance and due diligence to promote and secure the moral and spiritual well-being of our fellow countrymen and women,
The freedom of God is exercised and illustrated in His government of His moral creatures. It has pleased God to create intelligences possessed of moral freedom and to make their ultimate destiny contingent upon the right use of their freedom.1
As we celebrate our Nation’s Birth, let us also remember that God has endowed us with the sacred trust to preserve civility, decency, and goodwill for people with whom we work, serve, and live. Most importantly, let us never forget that it is only through our faith in Jesus Christ, our Sinless Savior that we can have eternal liberty and freedom—from sin and death. Won’t you trust in Him today?
What a Wonderful Savior!