While the gospels are the easiest place to see the person and work of Jesus Christ, the entirety of the scriptures share the gospel story. Gospel Outside will highlight a part of the gospel seen outside of the 4 Gospels of the New Testament.
Have you ever had a problem but just wanted to pretend it wasn’t there? For the last two weeks I’ve been sick. I don’t think it has been one illness, I think I have had the luck to contract several illnesses in succession. Over those two weeks I did what I think many of us often do – I tried to pretend I wasn’t sick. I’m sure many of you have done the same thing; you show up someplace when you know you should be home resting and everyone looks at you with concern and asks, “Are you ok? You look horrible!” Despite the fact that I was obviously sick I went Christmas shopping, pretending I was fine right up until I was so exhausted by my illness that I couldn’t walk straight. I decided to go home before I face-dove into a store display.
We can be very good at pretending to avoid a reality we don’t like, and we will often carry that delusion right up until we are forced to face reality. Problems arise when we are able to avoid that reality for long periods of time and we continually perpetuate the lie we want to believe instead of facing the truth we don’t like.
We can often do this when it comes to our sin. Sometimes we like to pretend that our actions are fine when the reality is that we are really enjoying our sin. Sometimes we like to ignore some things we really should be doing and pretend that our avoidance of what God has called us to do is something other than sin. And sometimes we like to pretend that, when we ask for forgiveness from those sins after we finally own up to them, the sins simply evaporate from existence, “because Jesus.” We don’t like thinking about what that forgiveness cost.
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
-2 Corinthians 5:21 (ESV)
Our forgiveness isn’t a pat on the tush and a redirection of our life, it came with a terrible cost. Sin, even the “little” sins, are a rejection and rebellion of the King of the Universe. In order for our rebellion to be forgiven and our sin to be paid for we needed someone to pay the penalty as our substitute. This was what Christ came into the world to do. The Eternal Word, the being that spoke creation into being, took our sin fully upon himself and died so that we could avoid the eternal death that is the penalty for sin.
Don’t look away from that fact. Remember what it was that the infant Christ came into the world to do – to be tortured and to die as the only human in history not to deserve what he got and the only one able to bring salvation for the rest of us. Praise God for His grace and mercy!
The art pictured here is called “Man Acquainted With Grief” by my friend Scott Erickson. Click here to go to his website and check out his other work – some very powerful and some that is just plain fun!