18 November 2008

The Reality of the Cross

I was listening to a sermon from Redeemer Fellowship today about transformation. The pastor focused on Paul's letter to the Colossians and how transformation doesn't happen by external changes but by heart changes. He said that conversion happens "when you see God for who he is and you see yourself for who you really are." You see God as totally holy and yourself as totally sinful.

Transformation is a growing awareness of God's holiness and a growing awareness of my sinfulness, so that at every stage of life the cross is more beautiful to me, the cross is bigger to me, and the work of Jesus is more staggering to me. And the more I realize how great God is, the more I realize how less I am.

I praise God that I am capable of transformation. That I am not stuck in this state of sinfulness and grossness, but that He is transforming me into His likeness (2 Corinthians 3:18). Sometimes it's hard not to get frustrated at my sin, at my selfish heart and jealous attitude. Praise God he offers grace. In embracing the reality of the cross, that Christ died at infinite cost to himself so that I may be infinitely forgiven, God begins the work of transforming my heart and I desire this more than anything of the world. I desire to love what God loves and hate what God hates. God hates sin. Lord, teach me to hate sin! And I begin to hate sin because I start realizing that for me to stay on the throne is telling God he ought to retire. For me to dishonor God with my body is spitting in his face. For me to sin tells God, "you're not enough for me. I want more. You aren't just and you aren't Lord." Sin becomes laughter at his power, rape of his mercy, and mock of his patience. It says He's not worthy.*

And I learn to hate sin because God belongs on the throne and He is enough for me. Nothing in this world will satisfy me, and I want nothing but Jesus. And I have Him. I am satisfied. God is just and He is Lord. He alone is worthy.

What is your source of joy? Hope? Identity? Christ alone.

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. -Colossians 3:1-3
Money is not my source of joy. Academics does not provide my identity. My hope is not in my work or my best friends.

When Jesus becomes more and more beautiful to me, when I become less and less, the gospel becomes a treasure. It becomes the thing I truly desire like I desire a drink of water or food or community. It becomes my source of life, a breath of fresh air in the stench that is sin.

1 Thessalonians 5:8-10
8But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. 9For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 10He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him.

Romans 5:8-11
8But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! 10For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

1 Peter 3:18
18For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit

Hebrews 10:9-10
9Then he said, "Here I am, I have come to do your will." He sets aside the first to establish the second. 10And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.


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