Sunday, 25 September 2016

Christ Died For Our Sins

Hello! It's been a while since I blogged; I've been away in India and then away in the chaos that is term starting. But before I went off, I'd been working my way through these Bible Bits for Bruised Believers.  They're basically five word nuggets of scriptural deliciousness to lift our hearts to Jesus when any engagement with truth feels exhausting or overwhelming.

This bite-sized Bible chunk is special to me because a) have you read it!? #wow #hashtagwowisaridiculousunderstatement and b) it was the first five-word truth that got me looking for others. Back when I was a student, I heard someone say, "Christ died for our sins- here are five words to blow your mind." It was in a wider exposition of 1 Corinthians 15, I think, so they didn't dwell on it. But their observation struck me. Often, since then, when I've felt low, discouraged, stressed out and overwhelmed or so wearied perseverance seems impossible, my mind has been drawn back to them. Time and time again they have come as a comfort or a challenge, a relief or a rebuke.

They come as part of Paul's "of first importance" truths, and they've often sent the less important things I've been dwelling on to the back of the line.

Christ died for our sins is a truth that cuts through every misconception I have of God as being far off or uncaring; it's the love of God articulated in one earth shattering, historical fact. When I am tempted to feel abandoned by God, it's a five word reminded that Jesus was abandoned by him so that I never would be. It's a reminder that I was loved when I was utterly unlovable, by no less than Christ, God's King, God's Beloved.

Christ died for our sins reminds me that God is not a tyrant; he is not cold, he is not aloof, he is not unmoved by a suffering world. Christ died; God's anointed king willingly laid down his life, for my sake. It reminds me that the way the world wields power is not the way God does. It points to the King of the Jews, who was crowned with thorns and exalted on a Roman cross. It's a revolutionary statement that turns the whole world on its head, and shakes my misconceptions about God, and about what is truly valuable.

Christ died for our sins is not something I can believe while simultaneously believing that God is holding something back from me. It calls me back to believe in his abundant generosity; Christ died. God did not withhold his Son, and his Son did not withhold his life; Father and Son willingly gave all they had for my sake. Whatever else is going on in my disappointment, wherever else I may feel empty, it cannot be that God is stingy; he's already given me Jesus. (Romans 8:32- I feel like this verse makes it in to nearly all my blogs!)

Christ died for our sins cuts through the burden of guilt that so often entangles my heart. The thorns and thistles of shame are sliced to pieces by this remarkable gospel: the price has been paid. The blood of the Prince of Glory has been poured out, and my sins have been dealt with.

Christ died for our sins is crushing of Satan's head; the bite of the heel predicted in Genesis 3 is the beginning of the curse reversed; it starts with my liberation from the mastery of sin- it ends with the redemption of all of creation.

Christ died for our sins is a beautiful anthem for the unity of the church; we were all weak, we were all worthless, we were all wandering. But our Good Shepherd went and found each of us, and he laid down his life. Our Messiah King died for our sins and where we were once utterly isolated, we've been brought near- we're in it together, we've been made one.

Christ. died. for. our. sins.

Five words that utterly blow our minds and rise like the dawn, over our cold, tired hearts*. There is of course an immeasurable amount more that could be said about them. But even for a start, they are words that break chains and give sight, they are more precious than rubbies and sweeter than honey, they're a fire in the coldest of hearts. They are just five words, but within them are treasure beyond fathoming! They are five words that cause the saddest heart to sing, that cause the proudest heart to bow low, they are five words to keep bruised believers wondering, and worshiping- even in the storms.

*pinched from Bethany Dillon, Stop and Listen. 
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