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God made this world with an amazing plan and hope. He designed people to fill it and enjoy it. And to have an ongoing, open and uninhibited relationship with himself.
As you can see, however, that’s not our current situation. Something broke along the way.
Unfortunately, instead of going along with the Designer (God) and his wonderful plan, we used the freedom he gave us to seek for our own selfish gain and glory. You may have noticed, that hasn’t gone so well for us. Walking away from God’s amazing plan is what the Bible refers to as “sin”. It’s a deadly offense, literally.
God, however, was not satisfied to let the ones he made and loves here on earth face a hopeless future because of their bad (really bad) decisions. I say “they”, but the truth is that it’s all of us – you and me and everyone around us. We’re all part of that group who have rejected God and his ways at some point in our lives.
Reality is that sin requires punishment. That’s not a surprise. The shocking thing happened, however, when God sent his own son to stand in for us, to receive the penalty for my sin and your sin and everyone else’s sin. In essence, God decided to pay the price for our penalty of breaking the law. My parents once paid for the ticket I received when I was driving too fast. Similar idea, but on a much larger and more costly level.
The penalty for rejecting the giver of life, God, is death. That’s what our penalty is. And it’s that very penalty that God sent his son to take for us.
Why would he do that?? As hard as it might be to imagine, it is because he loves you and I and the rest of humanity that much.
So Jesus, his son, comes to earth. He takes on the form of a man, born just like the rest of us. He grows up and then, at about the age of 30, he begins to teach. And for the next 3 years he gathers a small group of followers to go with him as he goes from town to town teaching people about truth and grace. Everywhere he goes, lives are touched and changed, some quite miraculously and dramatically.
But the end goal, the purpose that he came for, hadn’t changed. There was the penalty for our choice to reject God still out there. And so, in order to honor his father, Jesus surrendered himself to his enemies and they put him on a cross. The son of God allowed himself to be killed on our behalf.
And now if we will choose to accept Jesus’ sacrifice for ourselves, to turn from our pattern of rejecting God and live our life trusting him, then the death of Jesus becomes our way to receive new freedom and life – no longer under the penalty for our sin.
God loves us so much that he provided the way for us to be once again a part of an amazing plan and hope. He made a way possible for us to re-enter that open and uninhibited relationship with him.
The question before us is whether we will accept that gift of love that came through Jesus death, or if we will choose once again to reject his way and live in the consequence of our selfish desires and choices.
God wants to free you from the death penalty we have earned, but he won’t force it on you. He loves you, but love is a free choice. As one who has received that gift from Jesus and experienced God’s amazing love, I would ask you to open yourself to receiving what Jesus has done for you as well. I invite you to join me and the many others who have been freed and changed by receiving God’s love. To know God and have hope that we were designed for from the beginning is the best thing you could receive, today and forever.
If you would like to talk some more or if you have questions about any of this, please feel free to write me a quick note (firstname.lastname@example.org) or come to one of our gatherings on Sunday and we can talk then.