God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5: 8

 

What does it mean to be a sinner? Many of us have heard about and even memorized lists of sins, and the consequences that can come our way if we engage in them. These are not good things to think, say, and do; at least that is supposed to be the way that God views it all. In this view of things, sin is bad; so, not sinning is good. This approach tends to set up a form of tension between doing what we want to do and doing what we are informed that God would have us do. There is some truth to this, but this is also an ill-informed understanding of how God actually works and the design of life in His redeemed kingdom come.

 

In God’s perspective, sin is rejection. It comes about as people turn away from Him and from His righteousness in order to think and act as we want without regard for what that might do or cause to happen in the lives of others or in our world. Sin takes people away from God’s designed patterns of engagement with the rest of creation and redesigns the rules so that our own desires are met regardless of the consequences for ourselves or for others. It moves us ever farther away from the love, grace, and mercy that are inherent in God’s creation plan, and sin then builds up barriers between each person and God, and by virtue of God’s implanted image in all people, it also divides us one from another. This thing that is called sin is the singular most destructive force that exists in relationships and especially in that which can be formed between people and our Creator.

 

However, God is not willing to see this world and our lives remain in this state of separation and conflict. He did something about this state of affairs, and the Father did not wait to see how we might act or even for our responses to His approach to us. In advance of anyone’s turning toward Him, God formed a plan for the redemption of all of His creation, and that plan was focused on the restoration of deep and intimate relationship with anyone of us who would accept the opportunity and the offer of grace that was extended. Jesus, God Himself, perfect and blameless, would yield Himself to suffer all that every one of us deserved by way of penalty for our sinfulness. This was planned and executed while we were all still buried in sin and lost to eternity. Christ gave all as an advance to our accounts so that we could freely enter into the redemption of love that God tenders to us. In this new state, Christ works within us to transform our thinking and acting so that the tension of righteousness is reformed into the nature of our being.

The Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed.

2 Timothy 4: 17

 

When you feel weak in the knees, look around and see the glory of the Lord in all of His creation. If the task seems too big for even an entire cast of Superheroes, stretch out your hand in faith and in trust, for the King will send His host of angelic and human warriors to aid in the cause. Should you find yourself in a situation where God seems to be asking the impossible of you, look at the cross, and allow Christ to redefine possibility.

 

It is truly amazing how God chooses to work through flawed vessels such as myself, but He does do this, and He has been doing it from the beginning of mankind’s story on this earth. It is mysterious yet grand that Christ, perfection in flesh, came out of the splendor of heaven to live as one of us. He didn’t just live among us in the manner of a lord visiting the rougher districts of the kingdom; rather, Christ became fully human so that He felt as we do and suffered like we do; He even died painfully at the hands of people. Still, my Lord remained the unblemished and victorious ruler of the universe, and sin and death no longer hold dominion here.

 

God has granted to us His own continual presence in the Spirit of Christ. He is in us and in our world in a way that is total and completely involved. There is no place on this earth that the Lord does not claim as His own territory. So, when He sends us there, the Lord is close by our side. As we engage the daily struggle, He is already holding our hands aloft in celebration of His victory. Jesus has done it all before us; yet, He still wants us to trust Him enough to take steps into places that are dimly lit and unknown to our hearts. He wants us to have enough faith to look into the mouth of the dragon without counting the teeth, speak up boldly of the love of Christ that saves the lost, and rejoice as He transforms the horror of sin into the beautiful child that was His creation plan.