Links Daily Devotional

Our Lord, Part 4

He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. (Isaiah 53:9, NIV)

As much as we hate to admit it, cheaters walk among us.

In golf, there is so much conversation about how we play a noble sport, where people call penalties on themselves; honesty rules the day and those who bring their game to that day.

Yet there are cheaters—sandbaggers and foot-wedge users and lost ball “finders” and stroke shavers. There are those who knowingly dismiss the rules and those who maintain a convenient ignorance of them. And there are those who play the game for money and find no scruples in doing “whatever it takes” to win.

These cheaters may not have scruples, but they do have disdainers. It doesn’t take long for a cheater to be dismissed from the company of honest competitors, first by whispering and then by more severe measures if necessary. It doesn’t take long for a cheater to be disqualified from joining those who respect the game.

Nobody is perfect, of course. We, too, have broken rules by ignorance and by accident, if not by design and will. It happens even to collegiate players and tour stars—who really should know better. But that’s the point, in golf and in life: We don’t always know better. And when we do, we don’t always choose it.

When it comes to our standing before a holy God, then, we don’t really have one. Our “good enough” isn’t. It can’t be. It’s too late for that.

So what is our option? It rests only with Christ. When Jesus, as the sinless one who had done no violence and spoken no deceit, went to the cross, he bore our iniquities, as we investigated yesterday. Jesus carried our sin.

But understand, for Jesus’ work to be effective, for our sins to be utterly and eternally dismissed, they—and he—had to die. Jesus Christ was “assigned a grave,” like the worst and finest of men. He went the course of all humanity, dying a complete, physical death. And because he bore our sins when he did so, our sins died with him. This is the gift of forgiveness, the work of grace.

You do not have to receive this gift. You can call it unreal, a work of fiction. You can cast it aside as unnecessary, for you’re really “not so bad.” But be sure of what you’re doing, because rejecting the death of Jesus is to refuse life in him as well. If you disdain the blood of Christ, you walk in the company of those who have no lasting hope.

Jeff Hopper

September 5, 2013

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