I've had a few moments in the last couple days where I really overreacted to people who meant me no harm and I had to go back and humbly apologize to them. I felt terrible for how I'd treated people who are my friends. It's left my soul feeling low today, and I could feel our enemy creeping at my door accusing me of being all kinds of nasty things. I even went so far as to start talking down to myself -- you might know the kinds of childish things some of us choose to call ourselves when we blow it and our pride gets touched. And as the day drew to a close, I had to ask myself, is this a road I want to continue down tomorrow? No.
So I looked back to something I wrote in a journal I keep as I read my Bible. It was an entry regarding a chapter of what has become my favourite book in the Bible. The verse I had focused on says this: "yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through [His] death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach" (Colossians 1:22).
It's not uncommon for me to struggle to see myself the way God declares me to be. When I mess up, my pride wants to put me down. Mistakes are not allowed, and pride wants to call every fender-bender a write-off. And then if someone offers me a compliment, I want to dismiss it as I magnify my failings enough to cancel out anything good I might have done. What a case. But the truth is -- I actually am a failure! And no compliment can compensate for the sins I've committed against God, and I deserve God's punishment! And that is exactly where Jesus Christ enters the picture. And that is why Colossians 1:22 is such a great encouragement to me.
Paul made it extremely clear in Colossians 1:22 that it's because of Christ's death on the cross that God can declare me "holy and blameless and beyond reproach"! Me! I'm all those things! But not because of anything good that I've done. It's all because of Jesus. Through His death, He rescued me (1:13), redeemed me (1:14), has forgiven me (1:14) and has reconciled me (1:20). And the reason Christ's death on the cross can accomplish all this for someone who blows it all the time (the way I know I can do) is because the shedding of Jesus' blood "made peace" (1:20) between God and those who put their faith in Jesus. God says, "You may mess up, but I've paid the penalty for every mess you've ever made so that there can now be peace between you and Me, and I can call you holy, blameless and beyond reproach any moment of any day!" Wow.
And because such a statement is based on what Jesus did on the cross rather than on my performance, it means that such wonderful declarations are no divine whim that could change back to wrath without warning the next time I mess up! They're as true for me today as they are every day, even though today was yet another unpleasant reminder of how much I need this wonderful gift of forgiveness God offers us. And if I have faith in that (which I do)... to stay discouraged because of today's failings is to minimize the infinite value of what Jesus did for me on the cross. I'm not going to do that. I'm encouraged now!
© 2009 by Ken Peters
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