Links Daily Devotional

Jesus Makes Perfect

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. (Romans 1:16, NIV)

There is a place at the top of the swing that is neither going backward or forward. One might be fooled at first glance to think it is a stiff arrival, but instead by experience we find it is a position of dynamic stillness. It is the space in which torque and power gathers, opposing vectors tensing, and the point from which the golfer’s downswing is propelled. Frankly, what happens there is a mystery to most golfers and I think most of us just resort to brute strength in the transition to deliver power to the ball. We just can’t wait there. And some of us just aren’t flexible enough to even think of getting there! But there are some who are gifted with that graceful lag that delivers an unpredictable and powerful punch to the ball.

Today’s verse tells us the Gospel is the power of God. So let us think on the Gospel: God saves sinners through Christ’s perfect atonement. It is simple yet beautiful and deep, each word carrying profound truths. To preach Christ crucified is not some easy task: Christ, crucified. There is an unfathomable depth to the historical, theological, and personal meaning of those two words. The culmination of the entire biblical history is summed up in them; and those two words have the power to bring the aroma of either death or life.

To be in Christ is to be alive. But as the Christian lives in this yet-to-be-restored world, the plague of sin is not completely removed. Though it no longer has any condemnation power, sin is still very much a reality for the new creature. We find every motive muddled, with self-seeking thoughts embedded deep into the corners of our hearts. We feel ourselves “prone to wander” and embrace things that are not God. Our hearts fill with guilt and grief when we see our unfaithfulness in the mirror of God’s holiness and love.

Martin Luther coined the phrase about the reality and marriage of opposing truths in the Christian life as simul justus et peccator, meaning “simultaneously justified and sinner.” We see a symmetrical truth at the cross, where a perfectly righteous Messiah was simultaneously made sin (2 Corinthians 5:7). It is hard to believe grace is true in the midst of conviction of sin, but Christ Jesus is our life and anchor when the enemy bids us to leave.

Richard Lovelace writes: “The faith that surmounts the evidence and is able to warm itself at the fire of God’s love, instead of having to steal love and self-acceptance from other sources, is actually the root of holiness…” This is like the top of the backswing; we struggle to just wait there. We often don’t know how to wait for that Gospel torque to propel a cleansing flood of grace to our hearts. We instinctively either flee to numb our pain with pleasures, or we use brute strength to earn our way back by “practicing harder.” But often it’s only after hitting thousands of balls that you painfully realize practice doesn’t make perfect, not in any effort. Only Jesus makes perfect.

Resting in the Gospel, being still and knowing he is God, is a position of dynamic stillness that seems frivolous to our busy-bodied minds. But grace is the gift of God that delivers the most unpredictable and powerful approach to sin, the world, and the devil. Wait on the Lord, and watch that ball fly from everlasting to everlasting!

Isabelle Beisiegel
October 21, 2014
Copyright 2014 Links Players International
The Links Daily Devotional appears Monday-Friday at www.linksplayers.com.