Pilgrim Road Blog Photo

Pilgrim Road Blog Photo

Friday, April 3, 2015

Lent: Christianity 101 And The Superbowl Of High Holy Days

It's good Friday, the first half in the Superbowl of Christian Holidays.  The second half is of course Easter Sunday.  Both together compose the colossal foundational doctrine of the ancient faith of our fathers.  Everyone has heard the rock star scripture of the New Testament:

"For God so loved the world that He sent His only Son, that whosoever believes in Him might not perish, but have everlasting life."  John 3:16

Those words are so familiar.  Have they become too familiar?

I woke up wanting desperately to give some consolation to the saints in this upside down world where "the love of many has waxed cold".  So here on Good Friday it is my simple hope to unpack Christianity 101.  So many folks have the gospel backwards, twisted and watered down that the great truth of Good Friday and Easter Sunday have become some quaint religious exercise, stripped of the high and holy doctrines of redemption, justification and glorification.

We are all bollixed up in our gazillion denominations with our pet emphasis on one thing or another.  But the bottom line of the Christian faith is this (not my idea of it, mind you - but the ancient, sacred truth from the word of God):

People have fallen short of God's glory and eternal purpose of a love relationship with Him.  The 3 letter word for the problem is SIN.

God worked through a particular race of people to make known His holiness, righteousness and profound love.  Out of that race of people He would bring a deliverer from sin for EVERY race of people.

Jesus Christ, Son of the Most High God, gladly took on the limitations and sufferings of men and spent about 33 years on this planet.  He spent the bulk of the last 3 years of  his short earthly life to tell folks about the kingdom of God...a kingdom unlike all earthly kingdoms, where love and justice never fail, and where God and His people live in love forever...

On Good Friday, this Messiah, fulfilling the justice of God in paying the penalty for sin by dying a bloody, excruciating death on a cross, made a bridge between man and His maker.  No longer would we strive to be good in hopes of earning God's favor.  Now, by faith, we believe we are favored and so we desire to live righteous lives of good.

Still, if Christ had only died, we too would be dead in our sins.  But here it is: the grave could not hold Him!  Because He is risen, we too who have believed in His complete work of redemption, and not our own rags of righteousness, will rise too!

Jesus Christ died and rose for sinners like me and you.  He did it for one reason alone: to demonstrate the love of a Father who is completely just and completely loving.  So that with the gift we have of free will, we might see and experience the love of God and embrace Him as He does us.

This is the gospel.  We are saved by grace, through faith.

God doesn't love us because because we're good. No, we long for goodness BECAUSE we are loved freely and completely by God.

It is finished.  The debt is paid.

That's what Good Friday and Easter Sunday are all about, Charlie Brown.

That's Christianity 101.

Be consoled by this wonder my dear brothers and sisters as you carry on in your pilgrimage toward the kingdom of love.

Your friend on the pilgrim road,


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