“And Samuel said, “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.”
1 Samuel 15:22
“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”Ephesians 5:1-2 ESV
I came across this unattributed piece this evening. It sums us in a rather elegant, I think, way of what Jesus is to all of us that are His.
Christ Is All in All
“Christ is all in all to His people. He is all their strength, wisdom, and righteousness. They are but the clouds irradiated by the sun, and bathed in its brightness. He is the light which flames in their gray mist and turns it to a glory. They are but the belt and cranks and wheels; He is the power. They are but the channel, muddy and dry; He is the flashing life which fills it and makes it a joy. They are the body; He is the Soul dwelling in every part to save it from corruption and give movement and warmth. Thou art the organ, whose full breath is thunder; I am the keys, beneath Thy fingers pressed.”
Jesus is indeed our all in all, our Source of life, and the One who paid the enormous debt we owed, and couldn’t satisfy, with His own lifeblood. As on of my favorite old hymns says “Oh what a Savior!”.
Describing our relationship with Christ, C. S. Lewis once said “Give me all of you!!! I donít want so much of your time, so much of your talents and money, and so much of your work. I want YOU!!! ALL OF YOU!! I have not come to torment or frustrate the natural man or woman, but to KILL IT! No half measures will do. I donít want to only prune a branch here and a branch there; rather I want the whole tree out! Hand it over to me, the whole outfit, all of your desires, all of your wants and wishes and dreams. Turn them ALL over to me, give yourself to me and I will make of you a new self—in my image. Give me yourself and in exchange I will give you Myself. My will, shall become your will. My heart, shall become your heart.”
Some would say that Lewis was being a bit dramatic; I’d say he was being very precise. The Word of God is clear that we are bought with a price, the very life blood of Jesus. It is no less clear that there are two ways, the way of darkness (sin) and the way of Light (righteousness through and by Christ Jesus). To simplify it further, Scripture teaches we are adopted into the family of God. And there’s only two families you can be a part of: that of God or that of satan. It’s all or nothing, no middle ground, no grey areas.
Christ gave His all for us. Shouldn’t we desire to do the same for our Savior?
Genesis 1:31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
In order to fully and faithfully understand the cross, we need to begin where it all began…literally. We need to go back to the Garden of Eden, where God brought His creation into being and pronounced it “very good.” Why do we have to start there? Because it’s there where we see God’s perfect will in play. It’s there where we see things the way He intended them to be. It’s there where we witness the standard of life that all of us were supposed to experience and enjoy. God did something-something very good, something that was perfect and required absolutely no revision or improvement whatsoever. Everything was in balance and harmony. Creation was perfectly in tune-from the birds of the air to the creatures of the sea, from the canvas of constellations to the grass-gilded hills and valleys. Every animal, every insect, every single thing was just as it should be. Nothing was out of place or less than perfect, including man. Imagine it: an existence without fear, without illness, without pain, without guilt, without frustration or angst. Man had a conscience that was completely clear, without spot or stain. No evil or impure thoughts, no harsh or hurtful words. Everything about man and everywhere he went was “very good.” Again, this is where we need to begin, because it’s the essence of this “very good” existence that the cross is founded on. It speaks of a reality that every human heart longs for-a return to Paradise, a restoration to a former glory that we’re instinctively and curiously aware of. The cross plays a pivotal part in getting us back to that place, to the place where we belong. Creation was perfectly in tune. Every animal, every insect, every single thing was just as it should be. Nothing was out of place or less than perfect, including man. Think about it…
– Bob Coy
John 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
As we wrap up Valentine’s Day I thought some of you might be interested to know a little about the holiday that you might not know. Valentine’s Day is actually celebrated to honor two different men: a Roman priest and another bishop. I should also say that while a third man named Valentine also is some times mentioned, I’m leaving out all of the non-factual things and folks associated with the holiday. And since there’s nearly nothing known or recorded about “number three”, he gets left out, too.
Both of the actual Valentine men that the day is named after were martyred. There are many legends and traditions that go along with these men but they are basically just things and traditions men have come up with. The truth of the matter is that they both died out of love: their love for our Lord Jesus Christ. These men of the third century literally made themselves living sacrifices to Jesus.
I’m thankful that before the Valentine’s and the many other martyrs both before and since them that Christ chose to make Himself the perfect sacrifice for “whosoever”.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
During one of the testimonies tonight at Prayer Meeting someone said “God has been so good to me” and I immediately identified with the brother or sister who said it. But then this evening as I pondered on sweet Spirit filled service we had I began to think a bit more about that statement and changed my mind: He’s been so much better to me than I deserve is the real, honest truth.
I can’t even begin to tell you or praise Him enough for what He’s seen fit to do for me, with me and what He yet will. Scripture lays it out plain and simple: we are, in our natural, unregenerate state, completely the opposite of what God desires. We have a sinful nature that desires and seeks after everything but God. And yet God loved us so much to make a way for our sin-debt to be paid in full and our spirits to be quickened through and by Jesus Christ, if we will only come to Him seeking the forgiveness He wants to grant us and then follow Him as our Lord and Savior. A holy righteous God that sends His Son to suffer and die in our stead, why? Because He cares that much about us. No, I can never thank or praise Him enough. And He so very truly has been better than I ever deserve to me.