Finding Answers 4

There’s another important question that wasn’t on her list.  “Why do we need Jesus?”

 

Well, we need Him because by ourselves, we wouldn’t be able to approach God.  God is holy.  When I think of holiness, I think of the purest, cleanest state ever.  God can’t look at anything impure or unclean.  The problem is that by ourselves, our hearts are not clean.  Who’s never told a lie?  Which of us hasn’t had a cruel thought about somebody, even if we haven’t said it out-loud?  Our sin is dirty.  Some people think of murder as a big sin and lying as the ‘Littler sin’, but if God can’t look at anything unclean, it doesn’t matter whether it’s a little speck of dirt or a huge wheelbarrow full.  All our sin, however small it might seem to us, is a barrier between us and God.

 

That’s why we need Jesus – because Jesus came to earth to take the punishment for our sins.  The very reason He was born was to go to the cross and die, for you and for me.  That means that when we pray to God believing in Jesus, God can look at us and listen to us.  Because Jesus died in our place, that barrier between us and God has been taken away.

 

So let me finish with some questions for you.  Will you come to God believing in Jesus?  Will you tell Him you’re sorry for all those wrong thoughts and wrong actions?  Will you accept His death in your place, so He can remove the barrier between you and God, and God can listen to you?  I hope so.

 

“Create in me a clean heart, o God, and renew a right spirit within me” – Psalm 51:10.  Why don’t you make that your prayer – that God would create in you a clean heart?

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At the Counter

“God has rescued us from the power of darkness and has brought us into the kingdom of His Son, whom He loves. His Son paid the price to free us” – Colossians 1:13-14 (God’s Word Translation)

 

I like this translation of the Bible.  It was published in 1995 and I’ve only recently come across it.  Sometimes reading a more modern translation than I’m used to helps me take it in, and makes it feel fresher.  I enjoyed reading the chapter today, and especially these 2 verses.  I love how they explain the word ‘Redemption’:  “His Son paid the price to free us”.  Will you use your imagination for a minute?  Come and stand with me at the counter.

 

Jesus said everyone who sins is a slave to sin (John 8:34), so let’s think of our wrongdoing as a slave-master, who’s bought us as his slave and has power over us.  The only way we can get free is if somebody buys us back, but no one can break his power unless they’ve done nothing wrong.  There is only One who’s lived a perfect life and is able to break that power.  When Jesus rose from the dead, death had no power over Him, and because He was free, He could buy our freedom too.  It’s as if, when He came out of the tomb, Jesus was given vouchers with all our names on.  When someone puts their trust in Him, Jesus can go to the counter, hand their voucher to the slave-master and say:  “I’d like to redeem that person”, and the slave-master gives them to Jesus – the One who bought them on the cross.

 

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life” – Romans 6:23.  We deserve only death for the things we’ve done wrong, but Jesus offers us the opposite – totally undeserved, totally motivated by love.  Thanks to Jesus, death need have no power over us.  Aren’t you glad?

Transformed

Someone at church this morning encouraged us to think of Jesus not only as our Comforter, but our Challenger. Back home afterwards, I got to thinking of the woman caught in adultery – John 8:1-11.

People often read this passage and focus on the love of God, saying: “Jesus doesn’t condemn”.

They’re right; He doesn’t condemn, but He does ask something of us. “Go, and sin no more”, or “Leave your life of sin”.

For the woman caught in adultery, that must have meant a big change of lifestyle. Presumably, she wouldn’t have committed the sin if there was no attraction there. As followers of Jesus, we don’t stop being tempted, and we’re not suddenly zapped out of the community where we live to start afresh somewhere different. She would’ve had the same people around her, including the man she had feelings for, who’d never met Jesus and may not have wanted things to change.

When she was with Jesus, there was no escaping the fact she could have been stoned to death, and owed Him her very life. But as the days, weeks and months went by, as she looked through the window and saw the man she loved walking down the road … I don’t know about you, but I sometimes wonder what happened to that woman. Did she make it to the end of the race? Is she in heaven now, sharing in Jesus’ glory? Did she allow Him to transform her life, or did she desert Him and go back to the life she’d left behind?

“Leave your life of sin” can be a tremendous challenge, but Jesus is a tremendous Saviour! Just like that woman, we need to remember His part in our lives. Let’s never forget what He did for us that day on the cross. God is a just God; He can’t tolerate sin. We should have been cut off from God for the things we’d done wrong, but God loved us so much, He sent Jesus to take that punishment, so we could be in a loving relationship with Him. Let’s give Him our gratitude, and our love; and with His help, let’s live to please Him.