Wednesday, June 22, 2016

S: Sufficiency of Christ

**Before you read this you must scroll down and read O: Offense of Sin**

I have tried to start this post a dozen different ways, but the only way I know how to is with praise. Thank you, God, that we have gotten to S. Thank you, Jesus, for never ever letting us walk alone. Thank you that the sufficiency of Christ is not only "sufficient" but more than enough, overflowing, abundant. Thank you for immeasurable love and sound guidance.

A clip from Ephesians 2:

 "As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time,gratifying the cravings of our flesh[a] and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressionsit is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace,expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."

The beginning of this passage establishes what the post from last time said: all of us, every single person to ever exist or who will ever exist has committed an offense against God. We were paying at a cash register and were told "You dont have enough". We weren't enough.

But then Jesus Christ, the of God, the essence of God in the flesh, withdrew into the pits of hell and rescued us. He handed the cashier $5 and told her to keep the change sot hat we would have no price to pay. All of us had a price tag on our heads and he paid it all in full. 

I used to wonder as a kid how one man just dying saved the entire human race. It wasn't until I was about 16 that something finally clicked: it had nothing to do with Jesus dying. It had a little to do with him rising from the dead. But it had a lot to do with what happened between those 2 events.

As I said before, we each have a price on our heads, and each price had to be paid. The wrath of God did not just simply go away when Jesus was nailed to the cross, He endured it for all of mankind. Think about the way I tried to describe hell in my last post. It's hard to imagine a place so terrible. In fact, it's entirely impossible to imaging a place void of love, God, and goodness. But just thinking about one of your loved ones having to endure it for eternity and then some sends tears to your eyes. 

Realize that Jesus had to endure the pain and wrath of hell for every person that has ever or will ever exist. 

Jesus drank the entire cup of God's wrath and then turned it upside down so that not even a single drop could escape. 

I use the term "had to endure" very loosely because in fact that wording is false. He did not have to. This was not something that God made him do, it was a choice. If you read the passages dealing with Satan's temptation of Jesus in the desert, you realize that at any point during Jesus' time on Earth he could have beckoned an angel army to him and peaced out. By no means was he being forced to stay here, to endure the pain and the burden. It was a choice that he made out of love and compassion. 

At the exact moment that Jesus took his last breath, scripture says that the veil was torn. This veil is the same veil that literally had to separate God from the worshiper in temples back in the Old Testament. There was not a personal relationship with God. There were rules so perfect that human nature could not possibly obey them, which is where Christ stepped in. He took our religion from rigid, legalistic, and impossible to personal, loving, and relieving. Jesus says his burden is light because he's already born the shame and ridicule. He has done the dirty work, all you have to do is respond (stay tuned next for that post next).

When Jesus died, the Bible is very careful to mention all of the witnesses that were around for his burial. On top of witnesses, he had guards standing by the tomb because the government feared the disciples would steal his body from the tomb in order to seemingly fulfill scripture. However, 3 days later and without the guards being distracted or having a lapse in attention, the tomb was found empty with only the linens used to bury the dead found laying there. 

Up from the grave He arose. 

Jesus had endured the wrath of God and defeated death. Hell has no victory, the battle has already been won. Yet we continue to act like religion has too many rules.

If your religion tells you that you need anything other than salvation exclusively through Jesus Christ and only Jesus Christ then your religion is not Christianity. Christ is sufficient enough. Paul tells us very plainly in Colossians 2 that any religion that tells you you must not eat something, do something, wear something, or be something is entirely false upon itself and suggests that Jesus was not enough and you need a little extra something to gain salvation. Yes, Christians often are encouraged to not have sex before marriage, curse, party hardy, etc, but these things are not a deal breaker. Paul tells us that characteristics such as these among Christians lead us to question whether or not the person ever truly accepted Jesus and was saved because by nature Christianity is life-changing and a truly Christ-centered heart should not be focused on wordly things, however there is nothing extra that you must do to earn salvation.

The only reason the above paragraph belongs in this post is to establish that CHRIST IS ENOUGH.
I can't say that louder, can't harp on it anymore. There is no need to have anything else. No good works can save you, no abstinence from food or sex can save you, and no religious practices such as observing the Sabbath or being baptized can save you. Jesus is and always will be the only way, no matter how "religious" you are or how great of a person you are. Always know that nothing you do on your own is enough, Jesus is the only answer. This is a puzzle that only has 1 piece which is Christ. That is all you need. Never, never forget that. 

And never forget that, no matter what the media or the government tries to tell you, God is love. He (and we, hopefully) is love, grace, kindness, generosity, mercy, healing, omniscient, omnipotent, ruler, king, Lord, savior, greater. 

I'm sure this post is scattered but dealing with something as precious as this has the ability to cloud one's thoughts. If you walk away from this knowing that you deserve darkness, pain, misery, suffering, but Jesus bore that burden for you and now you have life, healing, joy, and salvation then my goal is accomplished. Know that Jesus is enough. He is the ONLY way to salvation. 

Next post I will discuss P: personal response.
If you took away from this post what I hope you did then you will learn how to respond to this outpouring of love.

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