For most of my life, I’ve had it backwards.
The picture I had of God was one of a difficult boss, a supreme being who insisted on impossible demands. Do this. Don’t do that. You’ll pay when you fail. I heard many times of God’s fatherly love for me but I struggled to reconcile this idea with the many demands I would read in the scriptures and the shame I carried from being unable to live up to those standards.
And, I knew myself. Deep down (and not so deep down), I knew I failed over and over. I put on a good face since that’s just what we do. But, no matter how hard I tried to keep the law consistently, I could not. Anxiety, fear, hopelessness, and apathy ruled as I saw very little hope in trying to climb the ladder to God. Then, by the grace of God, my ears began to open to understand the saving work of Jesus.
Jesus wasn’t, as I often thought, an example of perfect living for me to try to emulate. I would fail.
I wasn’t meant to read myself into the Bible stories as the hero. Jesus was.
I came to realize this is the point...Jesus was and is the hero!
Jesus came and died for me even when I was a sinful mess [*Rom 5:6]. He loves me so much he would do this when I was effectively one of the mob spitting on him and watching him die a terrible and undeserved bloody death. This very blood covers my sin allowing me to be reconciled to God. I no longer have to fear or be anxious since I am now adopted as God’s child [** 1 John 3:1a].
I now TRULY rest in the fact that Jesus already finished the work. What a relief! My role is to respond in belief.
Christ is the ark in the stormy ocean of life and death – the perfect vessel which will carry me through to salvation as I put my full hope and trust in him who already paid it all [***John 6:40]. “O praise the One who paid my debt and raised this life up from the dead!”
* Romans 5:6 “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.”
** 1 John 3:1a “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.”
*** John 6:40 “For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”