Friday, March 18, 2011

A Greater Reality

What was the cross of Calvary, on which the Lord Jesus Christ died?
Was it the product of Jewish religious leaders, who saw it as the end to one who threatened their religious and cultural power? Yes, it was. "When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put Him to death" (Matthew 27:1).
Was it the Roman government's putting to death yet another voice and personality whom they viewed as a religious zealot and potential threat? Yes, it was. "Pilate... delivered Jesus, when He had scourged Him, to be crucified" (Mark 15:15).
Was it the greatest crime in history, wherein the only perfectly innocent person who ever lived was unjustly accused, tried and executed? Yes it was. "They all condemned Him to be guilty of death" (Mark 16:64).
Or finally, was it the redeeming work of God through His Son's sacrifice for our sins, and the basis of forgiveness, newness of life and the promise of both time and eternity for all who believe? Yes, it was. "God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).
Born again believers in the Lord Jesus affirm all of the above. Which truth, however, do we consider as the most significant and influential? Obviously, redeeming work of the Lord Jesus on the cross is central in our thoughts and beliefs. His death at Calvary was God's reconciling work through His Son, making possible a salvation for believers that powerfully affects both the here and the hereafter.
Now, apply this truth to the present issues of life, particularly the difficulties. There are many earthly realities that affect us, including conditions, circumstances and situations which must be accepted as real and which have significant impact on us. Is there, however, a greater and prevailing truth in them all? Will this truth, if believed, lead to a redeeming experience of life, either by delivering us from the challenges, or delivering us in the challenges? Is the person and work of the Lord Jesus the heart of this truth?
The answers are yes, yes, yes. "In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us" (Romans 8:37). Problems are real. Pains are real. Difficulties are real. Losses are real. Heartaches and heartbreaks are real. But the Lord Jesus' presence and working on our behalf supplies a greater and transcendent reality in them all. As in our salvation, the faith that emphasizes and affixes itself to Christ leads to the fulfillment of His promise in all who believe: "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly" (John 10:10).
The Apostle Paul testified, "We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed" (II Corinthians 4:8-9). Paul didn't deny the reality of the trials. But he emphasized the powerfully overcoming working of the Lord Jesus in them all. This is the life of faith in our present existence. It began thusly, and it will continue as long as we live in a world where we discover the glory of God in real challenges through a transcendently real Christ who has "overcome the world" (John 16:33).
"Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment."
(John 7:24)

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