Saturday, April 4, 2015

Not Plan B

I read recently the story of a middle aged woman who was overwhelmed by the inability to rewind her life, to go back and do life differently, burdened by regrets of past choices and the heaviness of guilt that haunts and handicaps.  She looked at her peers.  How did her friends handle it?

She discovered that her friends fell into two categories:  the first group like herself carried regrets and guilt around like a too-heavy suitcase, the second group surprised her.  They were what she would consider "religious."   And so as an unchurched, non religious person, she was curious about what coping mechanisms religion provided.  She attended a church service with a friend.

And she was totally astonished.  Because church was not about covering up and coping, nor about laying on even more guilt for being imperfect, but all about forgiveness.

Her believing friends were not smoothing over the guilt of their lives; they sought God's forgiveness.  Forgiven, released and free to live.

"I had no idea that forgiveness is what God is all about."

Very suddenly, that what she had considered a vague and meaningless term, "Jesus saves," translated into a profound reality.  She has no ability to rewind regrets and wounds and every terrible action, but Jesus can save her from drowning in those wrongdoings.

That is why He came to earth:  to save us quite literally.  

The word sin in today's culture has been misused and abused.  The meaning is still the same, but if you substitute the word "selfishness," it is translated into a language everyone of us can understand.  We are all selfish.  We have all been wounded by the selfishness of others.  And there is something terribly wrong in the world as a result.  We all know it.

And that is why Jesus came.  His death on the cross was not plan B.  

"The cross did not happen to Jesus," says Oswald Chambers in his book My Utmost for His Highest. "He came on purpose for it."

But that is not the end of the story.

That is what Easter is all about.

Stay tuned for tomorrow.

For God sent the Son
into the world,
not to condemn the world,
but that the world
might be saved through Him.

                  John 3.17

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