Authentic, grace

Upon Him was the Chastisement of our Peace

It is Easter Sunday today, and knowing or having attended a few Easter services and conferences in years prior, I assume that if you went today, you probably heard an uplifting and enjoyable time as you were reminded of the death, the resurrection of Christ and the guarantee and safety that that gives knowing He paid the price for us.

And if I am to be honest, I really desire to see the day when the Church year in and year out does not depart from this reality but that this would be the crux of the message we carry to the world, and to the broken in the church; because He did pay a price. I have realised, having experienced this at a personal level that often we do not realise just how much God has given to us by the death of Jesus Christ, and that often we reduce this to mean a ticket to heaven at death, and only that. I mean, it is a big deal to be saved from hell and all but if that was the only purpose, would it not therefore make sense to die upon being born again and not have to go through the chaos of a disorderly world, with the added burden of now possessing an enemy, who is the devil? Why not then save yourself the sin that follows etc?

I bet as you were thinking why that just is a ridiculous way of reasoning, part of the images that were in your head were the dreams and visions you have in your life, for family, for prosperity or a job or purpose you are convinced is your own and that which you must live out. It probably made no sense to you to die when you still have dreams and visions and hopes and the energy to carry this out. And you are right, it makes no sense at all; and as I write this I am reminded of the word for this year, which is “A dream fulfilled is  a tree of life, from the book of proverbs.” But before I digress, I must then add and say the Bible itself is  full of so many words and reasons that tell us of the multifaceted purpose or benefits that are credited to our account because the Lord Jesus Christ came and died for us. Indeed, in an earlier post I talked about the fact that we do not have a clean slate. And today, I guess you could call it more of the same along the same lines.

Imagine for a moment an individual with the financial power of a Bill Gates plus Warren Buffet and the political power of a Barack Obama, and that person has a just and legal cause and right to kill you and they have decided to actively pursue that goal. And let’s say you live on less than a dollar a day as well. You would know that there a few places you would be able to hide; and you would know that allies would be few and far between  and you probably would want nothing to do with them, much less be found in their presence. In essence, you would probably be a sitting duck due to what you can do versus what they can do and it would only be a matter of time before they killed you. Now imagine that the same person does not hate you, but that there is no enmity between you but that that person’s sole desire is to see you prosper, fulfill your dreams and leave a mark on society. You pretty much would know that your day’s on less than a dollar a day are numbered if you actively pursue your goals and dreams and if you open the eyes and extend of your dreams to realise what you could truly achieve.

With that in mind, may I tell you now that what Jesus has accomplished is so much bigger and greater than my illustration. Yes, there was a price that needed to be paid on account of God being just and sin needing to be punished; not because the devil had any claim on us but because the justice of God demanded it. It may sound harsh but that is only because we live in a society that abdicates responsibility and believes in freedom without accountability for our actions. The consequences of sin are real, and they extend beyond the individual alone. Think of it this way: all the death, the sickness, the poverty and brokenness in the world today was made possible only because Eve and Adam ate of the wrong tree. I believe that is the only sin the Bible has recorded committed by these two, maybe I am wrong but as far as Genesis goes, this is what I know is written. And this one action has wrought so much chaos for all who are of Adam. Sin is real, it has consequences beyond us and it must be punished because justice demands it. And the full price that the justice of God demanded for every sin ever committed and ever to be committed by man, Jesus Christ has paid.

Not only has the blood of Jesus satisfied the claims of God’s justice on our lives, it has credited to our account blessings and benefits. And from this particular place in scripture, one of these benefits is peace, which in this instance is translated from the Hebrew word Shalom. And this shalom that He has died to give us, is a very rich word. From the Strong’s concordance, it means completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety, soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony, the absence of agitation and discord. The root verb from which it comes means to be complete, perfect and full. In Shona, I guess a close word for this would be rugare. And my friend, this is not too much for you. You see, this is not what you deserve but what Jesus Christ deserves. He took what you deserved and gave you or put you in a position to get what he deserved. And that is grace my friend, that we may not boast in and of ourselves but that we may in freedom praise the Lord of grace.

I know this theme, which is the grace of God, the divine exchange and the free gift of Jesus deserves more expounding and talk for indeed it is the very basis of our lives. For this post though, I have to come to an end here and say may you continue to grow in the grace and the freedom of our loving God.

Love you all.

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