November 14, 2013

The answer is . . .

Sunday school teachers know the “pat answer” line in their classes. This is given when Bible students young and old don’t know the answer and say, “Jesus” thinking it will likely be right.”

This isn’t far from the truth. When I don’t understand what God is like, I can see it in Jesus. When I am uncertain where I stand before Him, my answer is in my Savior. When I wonder if God has forgiven me, or still loves me, or cares about the world around me, the answer is always in Jesus. By taking a long look at His life and pondering His death and resurrection, my fears melt and my questions with them. Jesus is the answer.

Steadfast love and faithfulness meet; righteousness and peace kiss each other. Faithfulness springs up from the ground, and righteousness looks down from the sky. Yes, the Lord will give what is good, and our land will yield its increase. Righteousness will go before him and make his footsteps a way. (Psalm 85:10–13)

Consider the virtues expressed in Christ toward us, virtues such as justice, mercy, and truth. How can God be just without slaying all sinners? How can He merciful without contradicting His holiness, His wrath against sin? How can the truth of all that God is make a difference in a world that neglects, ignores, mocks, and even hates His truth?

The answer is in Jesus Christ. The justice of God says He “will by no means clear the guilty” yet that same God sent His Son — who showed such great regard to God’s justice that He was willing to suffer and die in our place. He, the Judge of the world, experienced the wrath of God that we might go free and yet God’s justice was satisfied.

This (the redeeming plan of God) was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (Romans 3:25–26)

The holiness of God simply means He is ‘other than’ we are. He is light with no darkness at all, perfect purity, totally without sin. His holiness is a consuming fire to sin, destroying it by His light and life. How wonderfully is the mercy of God toward sinners displayed in Jesus; “He who knew no sin became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Think of that; the sinless Son of God took my sin and gave me His righteousness! Is that not the ultimate expression of mercy? It does not compromise God’s holiness, nor did my sin and the sin of the world defile Jesus. He bore it, became sin for us, but His holiness overruled all sin and conquered even the death that sin produces.

The truth of God is that He loves us, even those who ignore, mock, or reject Him. Again, this love is demonstrated in Jesus Christ, the One who said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) He could say that because His love opened the way to God . . .  

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For 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 5:6–8)

There are times when my loyalties become divided, when temptation gets the best of me, when sin seems to appear out of nowhere, when I’m thoughtless concerning God and all He has done for me, yet God does not change. He says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8) which means that when I falter and make a fool of myself, His justice, mercy, truth, righteousness, grace, forgiveness and all that He is holds on to pull me up and make me stand.

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