Friday, April 10, 2009

65 - Grace Pilgrimage - 3

Another SIMPLE concept which changed my life was the fact that JESUS paid it ALL. To begin this part of the study, allow me to say that Christendom has always seemed to have a habit of making "Christianity" a SELF-FOCUSED concept. It always seemed to be a "do-do; should do; can't do; shouldn't do" lifestyle. I don't have to tell you that to me, THAT doesn't SEEM to give Jesus all preeminence. OK - I do seem to be influenced quite a bit by the idea that Jesus is ALL and IN you all - and things like that. Most of YOU know that the idea came from those verses and Jesus' CLAIM "I AM the Way, The Truth, The Life" - so that I was left without an escape from allowing Jesus to BE Savior and Lord. BUT - where did that funny concept of "we are saved by what Jesus did - the focus is not on US" come from? Well - those verses and days like TODAY - GOOD FRIDAY - but mostly from Isaiah 53 and its fulfillment. ONE part of the picture is the "all we like sheep have gone astray" and we know that sheep don't find a way to be NOT astray - so the focus of safety and security MUST be on the shepherd. We KNOW that - but the picture doesn't really SINK in. But the one which GOT me, was "The Lord laid ON HIM the iniquity of us ALL."

ALL of Christendom knows that verse and the phrase which follows - "with HIS stripes, WE are healed."

About 30 years ago someone asked me, "Do YOU really think that WE are healed by HIS stripes?" I replied, "YES - and I will give you NO exceptions or disqualifications."

Well - there was a small controversy brewing about whether Baptism was a work at that time . . .plus some of my "other" friends just ASSUMED Baptism WAS a work - so it was a natural response to ask, "Then why be baptized?"

My answer has gotten me in trouble ever since - since I responded - "Baptism has NEVER been a work - it is simply an identification with Jesus and what HE did - THAT is what united with Him and His death means. It is THE ultimate faith response we have - the one which "saves" us - which accesses "that grace in which we NOW stand" Romans 5:1ff.

As you contemplate the JOY of Good Friday - and the grace in which YOU now stand - go back with me to Calvary and to the empty tomb and rejoice as we say together - "With HIS stripes we ARE healed" - Jesus did it all - HE is it all - and I am IN HIM now. As Paul would wonderfully say it later - "Your life is hid with Christ IN God" Colossians 3:3.

If you don't mind me being a little too creative - think of Baptism as the time and place where "you get your stripes" or at least where you get the benefit of the stripes HE received on our behalf. We are saved by what Jesus did on the cross - and our joining that - by faith. That's why my backyard "baptismal pool" still has the waters troubled from time to time - someone wants to be joined to Jesus and HIS stripes by faith. The focus is JESUS - more to come

No comments: