Friday, August 12, 2016

Because He Lives: What Jesus Did When He Died for Us


   (Part of a series sharing my devotional thoughts from almost two decades ago. For the back story & links to other posts, see the first post in the series.)
Understanding exactly what happened to provide salvation for us is sometimes difficult. I struggled with this myself, even after becoming a Christian. I didn’t know how God could reconcile my sin and status under his holy Law and still allow me to enter His perfect heaven. Then He gave me a beautiful picture based on His Word. Here is the scene for you.
I stood before God guilty, condemned. The sentence was death. I deserved to die under the requirements of the Law, which is holy and good according to Romans 7:12. Then Jesus Christ the Righteous, my Advocate (1 John 2:1), stepped in. He didn’t come in to use legal talk and argue the fine points of the law, or to make excuses for me. No, He stepped in and said, “Let Me take her penalty. I’ll die for her.” Then He took on my sin, and turned to me and took off my covering of filthiness and then clothed me with His righteousness (Zechariah 3). He lifted me up and said, “Go and sin no more.”

The most amazing thing about salvation is that the provision for it occurred when I was still an enemy of God. One day I read a newspaper article that described the tearful reunion of a man with the soldier who had saved his life in battle many years before. As I read I thought, “How much more emotional will it be to see Jesus face to face -- the One who saved me.” Later, though, God showed me there was an error in my thinking.
You see, those two men were comrades. They were fighting on the same side. But when Jesus died for me it wasn’t a soldier saving the life of a comrade. No, it was like a soldier willingly stepping into enemy territory and taking a bullet for someone on the opposing side who had just spit in his face and attacked him. Romans 5 makes it clear that when He died for me, I was an enemy of God.
But praise the Lord -- He didn’t stay dead. He was resurrected, showing the newness that comes with salvation, the victory over death and sin, and the hope of eternal life.

Imagine the reunion we’ll have with THIS Savior!

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