John 3:16 (ESV) "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."
After I received word of the agreed upon offer, I zipped down the hill in the van to pick up my boys from school. The sun peeked through the trees as the Son shone brightly in my heart. I marveled and rejoiced at God's answer to our many prayers and those of our friends.
Tears welled up in my eyes. Very tenderly I sensed God remind me, "Oh Hester, this offer is significant, your praise is warranted, but never forget that I offer you so much more in this life. My offer will always surpass anything. What I provide and deliver outweighs all else."
This marvelous truth rests in my heart as I consider what Jesus offers to mankind. His offer goes something like this: "Give Me your sin; I'll exchange it for My righteousness. Hand over your debt; I've already paid the ransom. Die to yourself; I'll grant you new life. Part with your hurt; I'll bring you healing. Turn in your mourning and receive My joy. " Christ's only addendum is this, "Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Me." Matthew 16:24 (NIV)
John 3:16 reminds us of God's magnificent love and the offer He gives to those who believe. This offer exceeds all temporary pleasures this life affords. Sometimes we don't want to accept His proposition. We like to write our own addendum. Like, "I'll accept His forgiveness, but I'll hold on to my flesh. I'll take His peace, but give me back my pride. I like His grace, but don't expect me to give. I'll receive His salvation, but how much do I have to surrender?"
We think we can bargain with God: "How about I try really hard to be good. I'll volunteer at my kids' school. I'll take dinner to the new mom. I'll obey the traffic laws." These are all respectable things, but when they stem from a heart trying to earn points with God, it is a flawed perception that we could even try to buy our salvation when we can't.
Maybe we are too busy doing the "Christian thing", just going through the motions, that we forget the privilege it is to be one. God opened the door through Jesus Christ and made a relationship with Him possible. When we don't appreciate Christ's sacrifice or acknowledge it and live in the knowledge of what He has done, we depreciate His offer.
Christ forgives the rottenness of our sin. He redeems the stench of our rebellious, selfish and prideful life. He justifies and continues to sanctify us to look more like Him. Christ heals shattered fragments of brokenness in our past and present. He restores us to reflect His glory. He transforms us by renewing our mind. He gives us hope of His second coming.
We don't deserve His offer, but we're given it. We aren't entitled to it, but we're allowed it. We aren't worthy of it, but we can receive it. We can't earn it, but we can accept it. Let's not minimize it, let's magnify it. Christ's offer is paid in full. Inspection and appraisal are complete; He thinks you're significant. Will you sign and close this deal?
What are you most thankful for? Praise God for the sacrifice of His Son for you.
Why is Christ's sacrifice so integral to your life as a Christian? Why should we not take His offer for granted? Talk to God about these two questions.
How can you magnify Christ's gift of love in your life today?
What inhibits you from accepting Christ's offer of forgiveness and salvation?
If you have accepted Christ's initial offer, what keeps you from embracing the abundant life He has for you? What prevents you from living like you really are forgiven, redeemed, restored and transformed?
What are you holding onto that you need to surrender to Him? How do you try to bargain with God?
Heart Changing Word:
Isaiah 61:1 (NIV) "The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners."
John 10:10 (ESV) "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly."
Romans 5:8 "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
Romans 6:23 (NIV) "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
2 Corinthians 5:17 "Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!"
2 Corinthians 5:21 "God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God."
Galatians 2:20-21 "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. the life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing."
Ephesians 2:8-9 "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast."
Hebrews 7:27b "He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself."
Hebrews 9:14 "How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!"
Copyright 2012 by Hester Christensen. All rights reserved.