Then behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom…
Jesus came to earth, lived and died among us, and cast His sacrificial love fully into the great unveiling of restored relationship with the Most High.
Yet we live as ones still cloaked in darkness.
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve encountered fellow-Christians who struggle with their identity in the Beloved. Admittedly, I have joined them there on far too many occasions.
“When I’m honest, sometimes I struggle to believe that God is good.”
“Can I really believe God has my best interests at heart?”
“What if I’ve disappointed Him one too many times?”
“I just don’t feel worthy of His love.”
“Sometimes, I wonder if I’ll ever be good enough to earn His favor.”
“I wonder, really, if it all sounds too good to be true.”
“I think those things were only for the apostles to experience.”
(Feel free to insert your own questions or doubts here…)
No matter our propensity toward doubt and unbelief, there is one thing which has the power to undo the strength of every question…
The Cross of Christ.
Jesus didn’t leave the realms of heaven to step into our world and dole out punishment. On the contrary, He sacrificed Himself so we wouldn’t have to pay for the price of our sins. Ever.
He came as Rescuer and Redeemer. IN FULL.
When we truly ponder the extent to which Jesus offered Himself for us when we were still at enmity with Him, how can we possibly come up with the thought that we could somehow either earn His favor or lose it at the hands of our own making? What makes us think that after giving His life for us freely, He now desires to live heavy-handed with us? The thought is ludicrous.
If He did not cast us aside when we were wallowing in the filth of our sin, thumbing our noses in the face of all that is holy, then why are we tricked into thinking He now plays games with His love? That He is somehow straining to see the first inkling of a mistake so He can snatch His grace away?
How it must break Father’s heart when we fail to believe in the fullness of His love for us. When we continually act skeptical toward His unrelenting goodness. When we raise our eyebrows in cynical glance, waiting for the other shoe to drop and shatter our dreams.
How could He possibly exceed what has already been done at Calvary to prove His love toward us? How could He ever expand upon the vastness of grace portrayed through arms bleeding and broken, spread wide to embrace the sins of the world?
Yet we shake our heads in disbelief, as if it is not enough to restore us.
What more proof is needed than a blood-stained cross and an empty tomb and a temple veil ripped from top to bottom, exposing the way of entrance into the Beloved of Christ?
Remembrance is key to walking as ones set free.
The world would try to taint our thoughts with spiritual amnesia in order to paralyze us. The enemy whispers lies that good deeds and perfect performance are necessary to secure our place in the kingdom of God when the only reliable bond is the blood of Jesus Christ.
That one, lone thread of redemption hangs as a solitary Sentinel. Standing guard over our claim to His kingdom, with all its rights and privileges.
Yet we choose to live as ones still bound. Still held captive by the weight of our sins. Still sitting outside the gates in pauper’s garb, desperately searching for a way to be noticed in our own rights, clinging to a shame that was never intended to remain. Cloaked in the forgetfulness of a try-hard life looking for acceptance that has already been given.
Beloved, it’s time to lay claims to grace. To rise and to walk in the goodness that consumed our past separation and consumes us still – moment by moment – as we call to mind the Hope that is ours. The hope we have now.
It’s time to take God at His Word and receive Him for Who He is. For Who He claims to be in all His truthful glory, not in our own man-made image of deity. It’s time to live as if it really is finished. To breathe each breath with belief in His promises. To run free in the abiding abundance of His presence, no matter the struggles or the unknowns that surround us. We are invited and equipped to live with faith through the uncertainties and the hards of life as we look upon the Cross and know it is well with our souls. To live in the triumph that shakes the earth with glory light and opens tombs and releases bones long dead.
It’s time to live as ones who know we are held. And loved. Unconditionally. For keeps.
This Christmas season, may we make our way to humble stable and rise to the calling of Calvary, allowing the memory of that first encounter with the Savior to make its way into the forefront of our lives this day and save us once again as we choose to believe that He is good still. That we are loved – boundlessly and without limits. That life has meaning beyond this temporal sight of earthly wonder and sinful woes. That this world and all it has to offer is just a momentary breath of eternity, a brief exhalation of grace unfurled upon humanity.
May our hearts be stirred to reach with hopeful hands toward truth as we determine to catch it more fully and release it more purposefully, word by word, into our own hearts and into the hearts of all whom we encounter.
We are free, dear ones.
It’s time to live as if it were true.
It’s time to live with unveiled eyes…
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. – John 1:14