A Thirty Day Devotional adapted from the NEW book: Identity: The Distinctiveness of You – Day 4
I am justified from all things. Acts 13:39
I am the righteousness of God. II Corinthians 5:21
Many years ago, my wife and I were in a particularly difficult board meeting in which some false accusations were leveled at me as the leader of a ministry. The person speaking those words knew they were untrue: still others who were in the meeting knew they were untrue and yet everyone sat there allowing the false accusations to land squarely upon me. Perhaps in fear or perhaps in just wanting this meeting to be over with, no one with the exception of my wife came to my defense, but even she was quickly quieted.
After the meeting, my wife followed me to the parking lot for some fresh air. I was visibly shaken. I asked her, “What just happened in there?” I was dumbfounded. I then spoke out loud my honest thought, “How could he say those blatantly false things?” Before she had an opportunity to respond through her tears, a car pulled right up beside us and the driver, a board member who said very little in the meeting, rolled down his window. He looked directly at me without any hesitation, and with a slight bewildering, albeit incongruent smile, blurted out, “That was pretty hard-hitting in there. True or not, here’s my response: After every death you die, there is a promised resurrection.”
He had some insight into death. He saw it in our faces. Perhaps he didn’t intervene because this “death” was directed by the hand of God. Today I can say it was a profound, penetrating and enlightening moment for me. It was totally life-altering. Numerous insecurities and pride, along with other areas in me and my leadership began the painful, God-driven, but mercy-led process of death.
Jesus said it this way: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.” (Luke 9:23, 24)
In the book Beyond Personality, CS Lewis wrote: “Give up yourself, and you’ll find your real self. Lose your life and you’ll save it. Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favorite wishes every day and death of your whole body in the end; submit with every fiber of your being, and you will find eternal life. Keep nothing back. Nothing that you have not given away will ever really be yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead.”
It is like the father, who was also his son’s judge in the courtroom, came down off the bench and paid the fine he had just levied on his son for his crime. The judge, first a loving father, bore the penalty of the wrongdoing and paid the price of his son’s fine himself. All the son had to do was receive the gift that his father, the judge, was freely and mercifully bestowing upon him.
Jesus’ death is that gift given freely to us. His Father, our Father sent His Son for the penalty of our sin when judgement should have come to us. There really are no earthly words for this and the best theologian, while being able to explain what He did, will never be able to explain why He did it except for one single word—love. Love motivated the Father and love motivated the Son. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
While I should have been judged and found guilty, Jesus took the judgement of my sin and paid the penalty for me and all of humanity. Because of the price Jesus paid, I am now justified by Jesus, the only Just One, and I stand in righteousness before Him.
Question for reflection:
What do I need to die to in order to experience a resurrection?
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