When the book arrived, I devoured it, reading and re-reading it. There is a saying that when a student is ready, the teacher appears. Man, was I ready. My mind was exploding with things that I had never heard before.
With every page Bob George would point me to a scripture that I would then go and look up in the Bible. Verses that I had read many times in the past but that had never been anything but confusing became clearer; as if God was sending me a clear message through His word.
The truth of each verse jumped out at me this time. It took me some time to piece it all together, but God’s message of grace and forgiveness was becoming very clear to me.
Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone.
First there was a problem: We were all born with a death sentence. Spiritually we are dead to God because of the sinful nature we acquired from Adam.
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.
Because I had sin in my life, the thing that was keeping me separated from God, I deserved to die. There was a way out and it was a free gift from God. Something Jesus did made it so I could live forever with God. An equation to the problem was getting clearer.
So far, this was nothing new; it was about where I had left off after years of attending church. But truth fell on truth, fell on truth, until I realized the equation wasn’t about me solving the problem at all. That had all been done for me.
6 When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. 7 Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. 8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. 9 And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. 10 For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son.
The truth of the matter is that we are helpless. There is nothing we can do to fix the problem that we find ourselves in. And even though we are born in this condition, God still loves us. His love is so great that He sent His son to die for us, to take the punishment that we deserve to receive. Because Christ shed His blood on the cross for our sins in our place, we are made right in his sight.
Made right in His sight.
Saved from God’s condemnation or judgment.
These verses say, we were His enemies and He still chose to restore our friendship. Through the death of His son, we get to be called friends of God.
And then again.
He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.
Our freedom has been purchased and our sins have been forgiven. In the past tense, he forgave our sins.
And yet, again.
Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
Jesus was the sacrifice in our place to take away the sin of the world. Not just my sin, all sin.
How did I miss this before? Sin is gone when I accepted Christ as my savior. I don’t have to worry about it ever again. As I kept jumping back into the Bible, the verses kept hitting me in the heart. Tearing down all of the misconceptions I had about the way God felt about me. It was overwhelming but I kept going.
13 You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. 14 He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross.
But now He has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of Himself.
1 Peter 3:18
For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit.
10 For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time. 11 Under the old covenant, the priest stands and ministers before the altar day after day, offering the same sacrifices again and again, which can never take away sins. 12 But our High Priest offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time. Then he sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand.
For by that one offering he forever made perfect those who are being made holy.
2 Corinthians 5:19
For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation.
So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.
It didn’t matter that I was constantly trying to run away from everything. God chased after me.
I was not a disgrace to my creator. He no longer saw what I did in the past because he took care of the penalty for me. He nailed it to the cross.
Even though I had a dishonorable discharge, it could not define me. My identity was in Christ. To Him, I was perfect and holy.
It didn’t matter that I was in prison, because:
So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.
Not the freedom I tried to take for myself.
Not the freedom that I had just been awarded by the parole board.
Not the freedom that this current life was about to offer me.
But real freedom.
Released from the bondage of sin, my own thoughts, and the brokenness of my own flesh.
By God’s grace, I had been forgiven and I had been redeemed by my Savior.