11 April 2009

Jesus Paid Much Too High a Price

Do you know why God sent his Son to die a criminal's death on the cross? To carry the sin of the world... your sin and my sin. I used to think, I'm not a bad person, I never killed anybody. But we can't compare ourselves to each other, we have to compare ourselves only to Christ; the only man to live a sinless life and die on behalf of our sins.

A dear friend many years ago explained it to me like this: "When we get to heaven we will see all the things we have ever done or not done. We will be quaking before the just and holy God, creator of all things, and he will say in a voice like thunder, "how will you pay for this debt?" and from the side, Christ will walk in, with his hands and feet and side pierced on our behalf, and he will say "I have paid this debt on her behalf." God's countenance will change and he will no longer see our sin, because we will have been covered, camouflaged by the blood of Christ. And that is his mercy and his grace to us who have believed.

If you do not feel secure in your salvation, check out this link.

PLEASE don't wait till it is too late-- but realize: being saved is not just 'fire insurance.' Once you are a believer, you are given the power of the Holy Spirit to help you-- to help you overcome an addiction, to help you become a better parent, a more kind spouse; the Holy Spirit makes you more into the image of Christ who saved you. Sometimes this life is pretty tough and miserable-- having a supernatural power uplifts and encourages you to keep on trying.

When I first became a Christian in 1997 I kept wearing my crucifix (I grew up Catholic). Then I started noticing that none of my Christian friends wore crucifixes, just crosses. Later I realized that the Christian really believes, internalizes, that Christ rose from the dead! The cross is empty! He hangs there no longer! He is Risen! He has conquered the grave!

Today is still Saturday. Yesterday a few thousand years ago, Jesus was hurriedly laid in a borrowed tomb. His followers were crushed- scared- devastated- disappointed- hopeless- shocked- grieving. I look at the picture I chose for this post, and I feel on some level like I should change it to something more easter-y... not bunnies and lilies, but maybe sun rays or an empty tomb. But I am feeling this week a little more like the disciples who were so sure that Jesus was going to keep going in the conquering hero/triumphant entrance into Jerusalem vein. When he never called down hordes of angels to take him off the cross, to strike down the Romans and Pharisees, they were so confused. They spent Saturday in hiding, in mourning, in disbelief. Tomorrow they would find the empty tomb, they would learn that he had risen, they would be bouyed up, but tonight they were lost.

I feel for some reason like I am just barely holding back the tide. I have heard heart-wrenching, awful sobs come from my mouth and I hear them in my head this evening. I feel like I have wasted the cross this month. To partially quote the song by Casting Crowns, "Jesus paid much too high a price" for me to live this way. I am such an awful, impatient, terrible mom sometimes. Do you know what I actually thought this afternoon? "When we get those replacement windows the neighbors won't be able to hear me yell." What?! You know what else? I was livid to hear my children laughing and giggling, playing together so beautifully. Why? Because I had a cloud over me, and I was sinfully grumpy and I wanted them to jump up and salute me and run around doing my bidding. I have quenched the Holy Spirit, I have squandered the cross of Christ.

I am glad I don't have to wait till New Year's to try again. What better holiday that Easter -- new birth, resurrection, conquering death-- to start again. I thought this week "hey, I have four kids and one husband. There are five days in the schoolweek. Four plus one is five. I could pray for each of them, one each morning." I need to get up earlier than my kids and have time alone with the Lord. I miss him. And you know what, I know for a fact that he misses me.