Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Paying a high price....

There have been a dozen Easter seasons since John Piper wrote his book called "The Passion of Jesus Christ."  For reasons which you understand, if you are familiar with the book, I like to scan through it and read several of his short accounts of 50 reasons why Jesus came to die. 

Actually, if it were possible for us to know the exact number of people to live on God's earth, from Adam to the babies born today, that number could give us a more accurate accounting of the reasons Jesus came and lived here among us, and gave his life to pay for our sins. Regardless of who you are, what you have done, or where you have been, Jesus came to die for you. Paul told the Romans, "One will scarcely die for a righteous person--though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die--but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us"  (Romans 5:7-8).

That's a great description of how much God loves us, but in one of Piper's essays, he brings in several passages of Scripture to show us the extent of Christ's love.  As proof the one who died for us, loves us,  Paul wrote to the Ephesians, "Christ loved us and game himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God" (Ephesians 5:2).  Paul repeats himself further down in that chapter, yet becomes more specific on the scope of that love, "Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her" (5:25).

Here is the message of Piper's Number 6 reason why Jesus came to die, "It wasn't for sin in general. It's much more personal than that.  It is MY sin that cuts me off from God.  I become lost and perishing.  My sin causes me to forfeit all claims to salvation, leaving me to fall on the mercy of God as my only way out."

The Gospel of John, in giving us a description of "the Word becoming flesh," makes us even more aware of Jesus' great love for us.  "To all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become the children of God" (John 1:12).

There is the proof of his love for us.  Each of us can personalize the message by realizing it's the proof of his love for ME.  Piper says, "Jesus paid the highest price possible to give me the greatest gift possible."  He gave his life, to give me eternal life.  Embrace the reality of Jesus' love for you.

One of our songwriters has written, "If that isn't love, the ocean is dry...there's no stars in the sky...and the sparrow can't fly.  If that isn't love, then heaven's a myth...there's no feeling like this, If that isn't love."


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