It is human nature to complain when we are going through difficult times. Many of us have kept records of the times we needed God, but thought He wasn’t there simply because we did not see the result we expected. The truth is, we want what we want and we want it now. However, seldom do we take time to give thanks for all the mess God has saved us from or brought us through. And rarely, if ever, consider the sacrifice or the cost. But from the moment Eve lingered in the Garden of Eden with the devil, which resulted in her and Adam getting evicted from their home, God’s plan for our restoration was activated through the incarnation of His son Jesus Christ. Consequently, the ministry of Christ was set in motion in three stages: The cradle, the cross and the crown of glory.

From the cradle Jesus came to earth as a human babe, born in a lowly manger, made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men (Philippians 2:7 KJV). He came as the perfect sacrificial lamb to die as atonement for our sins. The joys of His birth were short-lived, stripped by His looming death, because there was always a plan in place for our salvation—if we choose to accept it. We must consider that no sin is too great to forgive and a person does not need to get his act together before coming to Christ since He came to meet you right where you are, and give you a fresh start.

The fresh start came at the cross. Jesus was born to physically die on the cross—the cruelest instrument of death known to man—and he lived and ministered carrying the cross on His shoulders. Paul, the Apostle, wrote that Jesus was not seeking admires; He was calling followers. 1 Corinthians 1:18 tells us that “The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God.” And this is reflected in the song written by Isaac Watts:

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride. 

So today, you and I can be assured of our salvation because Jesus endured the ultimate curse, torment and humiliation on Calvary’s cross. He to paid the debt that we could never be good enough, or do enough good deeds to satisfy without His blood. Jesus’ selfless sacrifice led Him to achieve His crown of glory.

Because God’s plan was always alive, when Jesus was on the cross and He said, “It is finish,” our debt was paid and it was a new beginning awash with grace and mercy for man. Unconditional love is the energy that drives true sacrifice. It was love that drove Jesus to the cross. Author C.S. Lewis said, “It costs God nothing so far as we know, to create nice things: but to covert rebellious wills cost Him crucifixion.” Knowing that Christ came as a human babe to a cradle in a manger, endured the cross, and now wears a crown of glory, we can be assured of our salvation as we count the cost of redemption and live a life that honors Him. So after all is said and done, at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth, and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:10-11).



The Cross: A Lesson in Forgiveness


Српски / Srpski: Groblje_Sv._Marko

Српски / Srpski: Groblje_Sv._Marko (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We just celebrated Good Friday and Easter Sunday is just around the corner. After my last post on “Issues of Forgiveness” I am reminded that the greatest lesson of forgiveness was given at the cross. It was at the cross Christ saw us at our absolute worst, took on our sins and pay the debt that we could never be good enough (or do enough good deeds) to satisfy without His blood. It was while he was being beaten, spat on, and condemned to die that Jesus said, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” It was at the cross one criminal asked for forgiveness and received access to paradise. The cross not only teaches us the greatest lesson of forgiveness, but it commands us to forgive.

If you are a believer, I pray that during this weekend, you will take time to rediscover the meaning of the cross, reflect on Jesus’ love for you, reach out to someone and freely give the gift of forgiveness.  If you are a skeptic struggling not only with forgiveness, but also with the whole idea of a God, I pray you will seek to know Him for yourself. You can start by searching the Scriptures so that you may discover the meaning of the cross. To those of you who say you love God, let your love show in your words, conduct, compassion, and love for others. Start by doing unto others, as you would have them do unto you. In other words, don’t just talk the talk, walk the walk.

This weekend, as I reflect on Jesus and the cross, I think about how He gave His life so that I may have life, and have it more abundantly. I think about how good God has been to me in the past and how He continues to guide my steps. I ponder the fires and waters and barren lands he has taken me through, and the lion’s den he saved me from. I think about how merciful He has been even when, in His wisdom, He disciplined me. I consider His blood that covers me. Today, I reaffirm my commitment to love, serve, and walk in my purpose. The cross gives me peace, hope, joy, and I am so happy to know that He is alive in my life!

I will continue with the subject of forgiveness for a little while longer because it is a huge issue even for believers.