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Friday, April 2, 2010

A Good Day

Since that dark day sin entered into the world, pain, anguish and suffering have been constant companions of man. In Job 5:6-7 it says, "For affliction does not come from the dust, nor does trouble sprout from the ground, for man is born for trouble, as sparks fly upward."

None of us are free from the consequences of the fall that are manifested in the form of physical and mental distress. None of us can escape the reality that our bodies are decaying and our minds are twisted by sin. We sin because we are sinners and as soon as we are conceived in the womb, even as our cells multiply and our forms take shape, we begin the process of dying and unless something supernatural occurs, each moment of our lives moves us ever closer to our final destiny, hell. That place of utter darkness, dreadful heat, unquenchable thirst and writhing misery...for all eternity. No respite, no coffee breaks, no parties with all of the other inhabitants there, because though it may well be populated by famous musicians and writers and historical figures and friends and loved ones, every soul will suffer alone.

It has been said that hell can be described as an eternity of separation from God, but it will not be. God is everywhere. Instead, it will be an eternity of torment as God justly unleashes His wrath upon the vilest of sinners...and just in case that word vilest gives you undue relief because you are sure that your sins cannot compare with those of the Stalins, Hitlers, and Husseins of this world, if you are resting on your laurels, if you are under the assumption that what you do isn't so bad, consider James 2:10, "For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all." One sin is all that is needed to condemn you to hell and you and I have sinned far more than one time. We all deserve hell.

But on this day over 2000 years ago, this Good day, this Good Friday, holy God stepped between sinful man and His righteous wrath. Jesus allowed Himself to be arrested, subjected to a mock trial, beaten, scorned and spat upon, and nailed to the cruel cross of Rome, where He endured suffering beyond anything we can begin to understand.

While on that cross, He did amazing things, it is astounding that He would continue to do good for us when His suffering was so severe, but He did.

He refused the drugged wine that would have made His senses dull and taken the edge off of the pain, because He was there to suffer the full weight of God's wrath.

His purpose for being on that cross was to save sinful man and He saved several while hanging there. He refused to hold the crime of crucifying the God of the universe over the heads of the Roman soldiers who nailed Him there. He prayed that His Father would forgive them and His word will never return void...they came to saving faith shortly after Jesus' death when the words, "Truly this was the Son of God!" were uttered.

He also saved one of the thieves who was hanging on a cross adjacent to His. The thief cried out, “Jesus, remember me when you come in Your kingdom!” And Jesus said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”

He made sure that His earthly mother, Mary, would not be left to fend for herself, which would amount to a life of poverty, by placing her in the capable hands of His beloved friend, John.

From high noon until three in the afternoon, the world mourned as He hung on that cross, wearing utter darkness when light should have reigned. From that place or torment above the earth, Jesus cried out, "'Eli, Eli, Lama Sabachthani?' which meant, 'My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?'" and then, "I am thirsty." These words betray His anguish, His pain, His suffering. Do not think that because He was God, He escaped those things, He did not. He could not.

Finally He said, “It is finished.” And then, “Father, into Your hands I commit my spirit.” And then He died.

The debt for His bride was paid. His church, the body of Christ, was fully justified by His death. Nothing else must be done to give eternal life to sinners.

"And working together with Him, we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain— or He says, 'AT THE ACCEPTABLE TIME I LISTENED TO YOU, AND ON THE DAY OF SALVATION I HELPED YOU.' Behold, now is 'THE ACCEPTABLE TIME,' behold, now is 'THE DAY OF SALVATION'" (2 Corinthians 6:1-2). If you do not know Him, seek Him today, that would make this Good Friday the best of days for you.

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