What would have happened to humankind if God had felt Jesus was exempt? Without the tremendous sacrifice, on the part of both God and Jesus Christ, we would be lost in our sins. The willingness of God to hand over Son on our behalf can be found in one of the Bible’s most recognizable scriptures, “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. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.” ( John 3:16-17) God may have not wanted to hand Jesus over…Jesus may have not wanted to go through the horrible torture and crucifixion on the Cross…but They did…and in the process, saved your soul from hell.
The world started scoffing at the notion of Jesus being resurrected from the very start. The Roman guards who were watching His tomb and the High Priests cooked up a story about Jesus’ disciples stealing His body and spread the lie far and wide. (Matthew 28:12-15) Over the course of history, the world has gleefully questioned and ridiculed Believers with, “Where is this coming He promised?” (II Peter 3:4) The world would like us to doubt and question our beliefs about the second coming, but we need to stand strong against those who malign the name of Jesus.
Here Paul was warning about idolatry and falling into temptation. Probably the most conceited thought a Christian can have is, “That couldn’t ever happen to me!” It’s when you think your “beyond” being tempted…that it’ll sneak up behind and bite you. I’m sorry, but no one is immune to temptation and smugly thinking you are above it is only setting yourself up to fail. We all need to be on guard and wary…for our enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (I Peter 5:8)
So many times we foolishly think we can somehow “help God”. We look at the situation and feel we have more insight and intelligence than our Heavenly Father does over the matter…but our “help” usually just messes it up more. Relinquishing some thing or one to God doesn’t mean you’re giving up and walking away…it simply means you’re stepping aside and allowing God to work in ways you never would be able to. Surrendering and laying at the foot of the Cross a loved one can be the scariest thing you’ll ever do. But until you do this and fully give that person to God – you’re just in the way and the Lord can’t work. You may think you love that person immensely…but remember, God loves them even more.
As a Christian we live two lives. One is our inner life…or our vertical life. This is our very intimate relationship with our Heavenly Father and consists of prayer and Bible study. This vertical life is spent getting to know God. The other is our outer life…or our horizontal life. This is our relationship with others as an ambassador for Christ. It consists of being the hands and feet of Jesus. This horizontal life is spent showing the love of God to the unloved and unlovely. Both are vitally important and interdependent on each other…for both are necessary to a vibrant and growing Christian walk. Our vertical relationship with Christ sparks us to reach out horizontally to others with His love… which sends us back to Him to be refilled…only to be again compelled to reach out for Him.
Come back to Me, says the Lord. Isaiah 44:22 says, “Return to Me, for I have redeemed you”. The Lord Jesus Christ is our Kinsman Redeemer…our Savior, and redeemer of our souls.
Felix, the Governor of Judea, was well acquainted with the “Way”…in fact he was even married to a Jewess named Drusilla. So as he listened to Paul speak about faith in Jesus Christ, conviction hit a little too close to home. Conviction by the Holy Spirit is an intense persuasion…a laying bare of our personal sin, and the realization of the judgment to come if we don’t repent. Paul saw this force at work by the Holy Spirit first hand and later wrote to the Thessalonians, “Because our Gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction.” (I Thessalonians 1:5) Never underestimate the power of conviction by the Holy Spirit…for it is unrelenting and able to reach where no human words can.