with Bob Condly
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March 2016

Is Good Friday Good?

(http://pic.pilpix.com/11/11753/la-croix-the-cross.jpg)
(http://pic.pilpix.com/11/11753/la-croix-the-cross.jpg)

It’s hard for me to label as good the anniversary of Jesus’ brutal execution. I’m grateful that He died for the sins of the world (especially mine!), but by what standard can I call today good?

After all, God warns people against confusing good and evil. Mixing them up constitutes one of the major problems of our society as our culture falls ever deeper into a morass of moral darkness. Perhaps the devil rejoiced over the crucifixion of the Son of God, but we shouldn’t!

However, I have two reasons to believe that the term, “Good Friday,” is valid. First, a selfish one. If Jesus failed to pay the price for my sins, I’d have to, and that price is just too high – eternal separation from God. So I thank the Lord for taking my punishment.

Second, I have a theological reason; everything created is good. Really!

Six times throughout the creation process described in Genesis 1, God called His works “good.” When He’d finished, He declared the collective results “very good.” Creation is good.

But what about sin? Genesis 3 describes the fall of the first humans into sin with effects that damaged the earth itself.

But does this render all that God made – time, space, energy, matter, living things – evil? Not according to the apostle Paul! In 1 Timothy 4:4, he insists that created things are good. Each one of them. Even today.

How can Good Friday, a day of monstrous injustice, be asserted as good? Because, as He does every day and for everything, God sustained the existence of that day.

And therein lies the secret of the dreadfulness of sin and the extravagance of His grace.

When people use the good things of creation for evil purposes, it’s like they’re forcing God to participate in wickedness. The Lord neither approves of nor perpetrates sin, but He does maintain the existence of the universe and all it contains, even those things that people misuse. That’s how offensive sin is to a holy God. He not only knows it from a distance; He deals up close with that which conflicts with the purity of His character.

In light of this situation, I’d expect God to react angrily. And He has. Long ago, evil was so rampant that He wiped out the world with a flood. But the Lord has dealt with sin not only with judgment but with His saving grace in Jesus Christ.

The Son of God suffered betrayal, abuse, and torture though He deserved none of these. Sin exacts a heavy toll but Christ willingly bore the penalty we earned. That grace not only grants forgiveness; it also provides new life for all who trust His work. You know what I call this amazing demonstration of God’s love?

Good!

Worried About Secrets?

(http://s3.amazonaws.com/happify-marty-prod-user-uploads/secrets-to-feeling-loved-1.jpg)
(http://s3.amazonaws.com/happify-marty-prod-user-uploads/secrets-to-feeling-loved-1.jpg)

Jesus promises (warns?) that our secrets will one day be revealed and that scares me. I’ve buried a lot of things inside me that I’d like to keep hidden. No, that’s not totally true. I’d prefer that they’d vanish. Then, I’d have nothing to cover up!

I’ve heard preachers insist that when we stand before God for judgment, He’s going to project onto a big screen all our thoughts, words, and deeds. Nothing left out and no one exempted. How embarrassing would that be? It would reduce me to tears! I suppose that’s why they attempt to soften the blow by reminding people that the Lord will wipe away every tear from our eyes. Why would we cry in heaven? Because we’ve been embarrassed!

To avoid humiliation, we need to behave perfectly, speak cleanly, and think purely. Of course, eternal blessings are more than worth the price of temporary degradation but still, how much do you look forward to your day of shame?

But is this what Christ meant when He announced the future unveiling of secrets? Let’s investigate.

In Luke 8:17, Jesus tells us that “there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.”

What’s hidden that will be revealed? Personal thoughts and behaviors? Things of which we’re not proud?

Or does He intend the realities of the kingdom of God? Jesus began the eighth chapter with the parable of the sower (vss. 5-15); with it, He described the different ways people respond to the Word of the Kingdom.

His point? The gospel will expose the condition of our heart; it will reveal our inner life. While that may sound bad, it’s actually good news. When we acknowledge our need, we’re ready to embrace the Savior.

Christ repeats Himself in Luke 12:2: “there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.”

Again, is He referring to our future embarrassment? No! Jesus is confronting religious hypocrisy (vss. 1-3). God knows who we really are. The gospel has a way of making evident what we try to conceal from others.

The good news is that we don’t have to pretend to be someone we’re not. To enjoy the benefits of God’s kingdom, we need only recognize our shortcomings and receive God’s provision in His Son.

Those who try to manage their lives without God’s help, risk being revealed. I know what that feels like and it’s intimidating. But also unnecessary.

Because we who avail ourselves of His grace find our sins forgiven and our hearts made right. No more shame, no lingering condemnation. In Christ, we have peace!

with Bob Condly

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