The Greatest Love Ever!
Imagine, the tender heart of the Savior, reaching into the lives of so many, as He walked this Earth! His hands reaching out and touching the untouchables – lepers! Just the thought of it, “Jesus wept,” as His heart went out to those who had just lost their loved one! (John 11:35) Think of all those whom He healed, fed, and showed compassion toward! And yet, this One – the sinless One, they took and nailed His hands and feet to a cross as a criminal! Yes, and He has compassion on you too, for He died on that cruel cross for you! Imagine such love! Yet, what does it all mean? What does it mean for you?
Nothing Else Would Do
I know it can be hard to admit, but we aren’t as nice as we would sometimes like to think we are. We tend to be selfish. We are disposed to defend our own rights. We don’t easily lay down our lives for others – especially our enemies! We tend not to share our wealth as readily as we ought. Truth is, we have all done many things we know that we should never have done! Quite honestly, none of us could ever measure up to the standard of goodness that God required – a holiness equal to His! Indeed, God said it best, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 6:23) Sadly, we rebelled against our loving God. He handed us a perfect world to live in. We decided that we wanted to do our thing – our way! How inconsiderate we were! A slap in the face of our generous God!
I ask, then, how do you think God should react to this kind of a gesture? How would you respond if you were so treated? Would you just shrug your shoulders and let things be? See then that God is holy and just! Without a doubt, we fully deserved to be punished for our sinful rebellion! We had it coming, as they say!
Yet, perhaps we think that things should be put right? That we should change our behavior? That we should try to be nicer, kinder, more loving, generous, thoughtful, and so forth? However, try as hard as one possibly can, still we slip up and do things we regret! Yes, and all those sins of the past are still outstanding; a warrant for our arrest is still valid! For we have been found guilty of many, many sins! Truth be told, we are criminals, sinners at heart! Oh, how we need a pardon! For our sinfulness has separated us from our holy God – from the life-giver!
So what is the penalty for us as sinners? With grave clarity, God says, “The wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23) Yes, indeed, death speaks of separation. Now the sinner is separated from God who is holy. Physical death will separate the sinner from their loved ones. Finally, the sinner will be separated from God and the new heavens and Earth wherein righteousness will dwell! They will be cast into the lake of fire!
Again, with words most stark, the Word of the living God reads, “Without the shedding of blood [death] there is no forgiveness [pardon] of sins.” (Hebrews 9:22) If this were already not bad enough, we know too, that a person must be equally righteous as God! Do you think it can be done? Do you think if you were given a million years you could become as holy as God Himself? Ah, the words of Scripture speak the unvarnished reality! We read, “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.” (Romans 7:18) No, Scripture does not ask us to remodel the sinner! Scripture calls for the execution of the sinner! As we read of the sinner saved by God’s grace, “I have been crucified.” (Galatians 2:20) No, God’s will is to make brand new creations in Christ! Yet – how?
No question, there is no hope if we are left to ourselves! Gratefully, the answer lies in Another! As we read, with great relief, “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy.” (Titus 3:4-5) Yet, why is it that Jesus is able to save? It is because He was not what we are – sinners! He is the unblemished, spotless, perfect, holy, Son of God – the Messiah! Truthfully, He was God in flesh appearing! Yes, it is true that He came as a person – like one of us, yet without sin! For He did not come in Adam’s fallen race, but was conceived of the Holy Spirit! He was not just a “good man,” but God! Even as it is written, “Jesus Christ. He is the true God.” (1 John 5:20) Again, “No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.” (John 3:13)
Yet, Jesus did not come to live a good life in our place to save us, no, but He went to the cross to purchase us by His own blood! He paid our debt of sin we could never pay! He gives as a gift His righteousness to us! He washes us as “white as snow”! (Isaiah 1:18) He cleanses the sinner and makes us brand new creations! He comes to live in us, to live His life through us! Jesus in us, is our Eternal Life! As it is written, “Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.” (1 John 5:20) Therefore, “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.” (1 John 5:12)
Do You Have Eternal Life?
Do you have eternal life? That is, do you have the Son living in you? “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.” (1 John 5:13) Do you believe in Him as your Savior? Have you placed your hope in Him alone? Are you counting on Jesus the Savior alone to save – you? Do you see that it was your sins that the Father placed upon His Son as He hung upon that dreadful cross? Do you see that the wrath of God fell upon His Son, and that Jesus died as punishment for your sins? That the innocent One died in place of you the guilty one? That in exchange for your sin, Christ offers you His own righteousness? For how, if Christ was punished in your place for all of your sin, past and future, could God justly punish you for them also? Ah, most joyously, it is written, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes in him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” (John 5:24)
Do you see it? It is not your performance that saves you. For, “All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.” (Isaiah 64:6) No, much rather, it is Christ’s performance that saves us! It is Christ’s finished work upon the cross! It’s not me, it’s Him! We find rest in Christ! In His finished work for us! Oh, why not place your confidence in Christ to save you just now? He is standing now with arms open wide, waiting for you to come! Yes, those nail-pierced hands are beckoning to you! He wants you saved this very moment! It is why He was willing to suffer and die – to save you! See how He loves you? See the tremendous love He has for you?! Why not accept the free offer of salvation now? Why delay? Tomorrow may be too late! Listen, “God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth,” wants you saved also! (1 Timothy 2:3-4) Please, don’t say you are too bad a sinner that Jesus can’t save you! Hear clearly, “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.” (1 Timothy 1:15) Question is, are you a sinner? If yes, then Jesus came to save you! Why not let Him save you now? He already saved the “foremost” sinner, Paul the apostle! You cannot be worse than him!
Listen now to God’s incredible promise! “Everyone,” yes, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved”! (Romans 10:13) Yes, what Jesus did is absolutely enough to save you completely! Don’t trust yourself to do good enough – you never will. However, what Jesus did is absolutely sufficient to save you to the uttermost! As it is written, “Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost, those who draw near to God through him.” (Hebrews 7:25) Again, “We have been sanctified [made holy] through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” (Hebrews 10:10)
Please, don’t face the Judge alone, on your own merit! Rather, face the Judge clothed in the very righteousness of Jesus Christ – the sinless One! Remember, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved”! Count on it! (Romans 10:13)
Victor J. Reimer
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Photo credit: “Love in Sprinkles” by Jamie
*Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version (ESV), copyrighted © 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved.