It Came At A Price

“…you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” -1 Corinthians 6:20 (NIV)

Two summers ago I had the wonderful privilege of visiting Washington D.C. One of the places we visited was Arlington Cemetery; where the remains of American soldiers killed in battle are buried. Seeing rows upon rows of white gravestones was a truly sobering experience. But what left an impression on me was what our tour guide left us with. He alluded to the fact that freedom is not really free, but always comes at a price. I then remembered America’s especially vital contributions to the Second World War. Faced with the scourges of fascism and ultra-nationalism, it sent its soldiers to fight in order to preserve not only its own freedom, but the freedom of many other nations as well. Those who enjoy liberty today are indebted to those who saw and continue to see to its maintenance.

When we allow Christ’s Spirit to reside in us, we are no longer bound by our sinful nature, but are able to choose to follow Him. However, this freedom came at the cost of His blood. Since God is holy, He cannot tolerate sin and the appropriate punishment for sin is death. But He did not want His creation to suffer such a fate and wants to reconcile us with Him. For this reason, Christ became the one sacrificial Lamb for all who desire forgiveness and to be made right with God. By His death the penalty for our wickedness is paid, and through the resurrection of Christ we have conquered the power sin and death held over us. Yet why do we voluntarily return to our wickedness? Christ’s sacrifice is not a license to indulge in vice, but it is to be treated with respect knowing that our freedom came at the cost of His life. What should our response be to His selfless and unwavering love? When we submit ourselves to His Spirit and walk in obedience to Him, we will know of the joys of living in the freedom He has given to us. This means seeking to honor Christ in whatever we do, be it in mind, body, soul, or spirit; allowing Him to aid us living according to His righteousness.

Only Through Him

“Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” -John 14:6 (NIV)

We do not like to hear absolutes. Our ears have been conditioned to cringe the moment someone speaks of there being only one, singular truth.Google+Photo As globalization brings the world closer together, we have become more aware of the diversity of the world in which we live, along with the many conflicts and tensions that exist between cultures and beliefs. In an attempt to accommodate everyone, we have succumbed to the view that truth is subjective; that another person’s truth is just as valid as someone else’s truth. However, is such a view sound? Can we really grant validity to two conflicting truths? This is the problem with relativism. Though it claims to bring harmony, in actual fact it destroys it. In the name of toleration, it not only allows that which is harmful and detrimental to humanity to persist in its destructive work, but numbs humanity to the point where we do not know right from wrong and we fail to take a strong stand for what is truly reprehensible.

Jesus said He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Often we ignore these absolute claims and label Him as one of the many ways man can follow. But clearly this is not what Christ intended Himself to be or for people to understand Him as. He is the only Way that man can be saved from sin. No matter how hard we try, we cannot save ourselves from our wickedness. Only when we acknowledge that He alone has the power to save and personally accept His sacrifice on the cross as having paid for the penalty for our sins will our relationship with God be restored. Through Him we are placed on the path to Heaven; knowing that it is Christ alone who takes us there when we choose to submit to His redemptive work in our lives once we have allowed Him into our hearts. He is the only Truth for He is the embodiment of truth as revealed through His creation, the prophecies contained in His Word, and Christ Himself; whose perfection and validity was affirmed not only by His disciples, but even His most ardent persecutors. In Him there is Life, for He is the Giver of Life. Through His resurrection we have newness of life and are active participants in His restorative mission for the entire world. Only through Him will His perfect righteousness and love be made manifest in us and overflow from us to bring healing to this broken world. When we accept the absolute claims of Christ, we can rest in the fact that our trust is not misplaced, and that through Him there is an assured hope and restoration for all as He reconciles man to Himself.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

The Last Commandment

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” -Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV)

There is something powerful about a person’s last words. If they come from someone whom you truly love and yet may never see Google+Photoagain for a long time, our ears and hearts want to remember their parting request or encouragement. How much more would we want to remember the last instructions of God Himself after dwelling in our world as man? After three years of being constantly in His presence and bearing witness to His death and resurrection, the disciples must have been waiting with anticipation to hear the final words Jesus would speak before ascending into Heaven. His last command to His disciples was to go to the four corners of world telling everyone of the hope available to them through His redemptive sacrifice and guiding them along on their Christian journey. We know through historical records that all the disciples took Christ’s final instruction very seriously; proclaiming His truth and training others to walk in His ways even if it cost them their lives.

In an era where religious pluralism and political correctness seem to stifle any meaningful presentation of Christ’s message, we often become apprehensive about sharing our faith in Christ. Fearing that we will be ignored, ridiculed, or not have the ability to present what Christ has done for humanity, we excuse ourselves by saying it is beyond our capability. However, in our weaknesses Christ makes us strong. If we allow His Spirit to indwell within our hearts and allow Him to take control of our speech and actions, we will be able to boldly proclaim the message of Christ. It was because of the Holy Spirit’s enabling that Peter, in the second chapter of Acts, was able to preach Christ’s truth eloquently amidst the voices of ridicule and scorn. It is because of Christ’s Spirit imparting upon His followers the strength and confidence to carry out the task He has called them to accomplish, that even today they go out and make disciples of His Word even at the risk of much grief and suffering. We are not the ones who bring about salvation in the lives of individuals, for how can the imperfect build perfection? Rather Christ is the one who draws people to Himself. Our role is to simply be willing to be the conduit through which God speaks and acts for the furtherance of His redemptive mission for the world; taking refuge in His promise to be always by our side until the day He comes to consolidate His eternal and wonderful Kingdom on Earth.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.