It doesn’t make logical sense. Eternal life for those destined to die – freely offered to all who will receive through the blood of God’s sinless Son. Surely, there must be more required. So many of us hear about it but can’t receive it. A few feel above it all, saying they do not need the forgiveness of some higher authority only to one day answer to the “Higher Authority.” Others spend years trying to find peace and hope in other things only to ultimately come up empty after each new acquisition.
However, most of us know the perpetual emptiness found in things on this earth and are also keenly aware of our own sin-- knowing we need forgiveness. But still, for many, the thought of such a simple solution: a magnificent trade--Jesus’ blood for my sins (past, present and future) seems, well, wrong. Not enough. Shouldn’t there be more required? Can it possibly be that easy? We may not say it aloud, but we resolve in our minds and hang on to the belief that we have to keep on striving. So many of us decide we must add to it. We reason, “Jesus’ blood PLUS my good works, my moral behavior, my ‘try harder’… that then, could equal forgiveness.”
Yet, is this belief not the most selfish and conceited affront to the love offered by our Savior? Aren’t we putting ourselves on a pedestal higher than the Savior and selfishly saying by our focus on our works, “We deserve it and we can earn it…what Jesus did isn’t enough”? Jonathan Edwards, in The Nature of True Beauty, explained it this way:
“If you don’t believe the gospel of grace (is enough), if you believe you are saved by your works, then you have never done anything for the love of others or for the sheer beauty of it; you’ve done it for yourself. You haven’t helped the proverbial little old lady across the street just for her sake –or for God’s sake. You’ve done it because then you can look at yourself in the mirror and know that you’re the kind of person who helps little old ladies across the street and you expect to go to heaven someday because of it. It’s all selfish; it will become drudgery, yet you’ll believe yourself superior to others”
There is only one way to come to the Cross and receive it in truth. We have to come to the Cross helpless -helpless, at the end of ourselves, asking God to help us fathom this great gift. Jesus is our substitutionary sacrifice and has done for us what we cannot do for ourselves, what we cannot find for ourselves, what we cannot earn for ourselves. He has paid for our sins once and for all. It is finished means: it really is finished. Tim Keller puts it this way, “He (Jesus) has proved to our insecure, skittish little hearts that we are worth everything to him--we have everything we need in him.” This changes everything. Oh friend, can you fathom this illogical, wonderful truth? Can you believe it and receive it? God will help you….even help you believe it just as he helped the father who said “I believe help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24).
And once we believe, we helplessly accept - we find soul rest, no longer working, no longer trying harder for our salvation. Our lives and our perspectives are forever changed. Keller goes on to say, “Now you do not need to help people, but you want to help them to resemble the One who did so much for you to bring Him delight. Whether you think they are worthy of your service doesn’t come into it. Only the gospel gives you the benefit of unselfish living that doesn’t rob you of the benefits of unselfishness even as you act on it.” In other words, I want to live in such a way that others will see Jesus in me and will want to give Him glory… not because I think I can earn His forgiveness because of what I do. Truly, it is not about what we’ve done but what has been done for us. Grace is more amazing than we can ever fathom.
Jesus paid it all. All to Him I owe. We have so much to celebrate because of The Cross….Happy Easter! Amazing illogical Easter!
This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. Romans 3:22-24