Like Adam (and Eve) our sin can change the world, influencing it away from the holy and good, polluting it with evil. Yet Christ came to change, to transform our failures into triumphs for grace. All the sin in the world from the dawn of human existence cannot stand before the awesome grace of the cross, the sacrifice of God’s self for God’s children. One act of redemption over turns not only what has been done, but what has yet to be. There is no sin that cannot be washed away by the blood of the cross. Through the gift of Christ’s offering for us, we experience the gift of grace, free to receive, but offered at the highest cost by Jesus. What do we do with such unwarranted love?
To give selflessly is to love, for that is crucial to agape, the perfect love modeled by God and called forth from the disciples of Christ. It loves the enemy, prays for those who seek to persecute and harm, and longs for reconciliation. It does not come naturally. Sin is easier, more accessible. But we are not called to the easy path, rather the righteous one. The path of sin leads away from God and directly to our own death. Christ, the light of the world, points in the other direction, leading towards God and one another.
We have been given this gift, this blessing above all blessings. We can choose to accept it, or walk on by towards our own chosen end. In the end, God will look upon our path, molded by our actions, and directed by our choices, and decide whether we should enter into the Kingdom.
God has already decided that everyone should have the opportunity to join our Lord in the Kingdom to come, and Christ is the key, opening the doorway and illuminating the way. What is more important to us: to have our way, or to move beyond the here and now into the eternity of unknown but endless blessing?
Like Jesus, we make sacrifices now, not doing all that we would otherwise do without consequences hanging over our heads. We give up the things of this world, knowing that the things of heaven have been promised. We follow a Lord who asks for love rather than taxes. Love will always cost more than anything else. It cost Jesus Christ his life, but that love gave birth to new life, which death cannot overcome. It was his choice to offer himself, but there was never any question.
Long before the day of Christ’s incarnation, the birth of the Christ-child in Bethlehem, Christ had chosen us, and not even Christ’s own death would destroy that love and commitment. Will we respond with out own love and commitment?
By your mercy we find deliverance.
In your selfless act upon the cross,
Death lost its hold on us.
Our sin mandated justice,
And you paid the price.
Now in the abundance of grace,
Let us find the freedom to live as the redeemed.
Help us to close off our hearts to sin.
May we model your love to the fullest extend of our flawed, mortal forms.
It was not your death,
But you obedience to your love for us,
That truly changed the world.
It is a love that would not only die,
But rise again for all people.
There is no gratitude sufficient,
But every act of love is a move in the right direction.
Thanks be to you,
For grace and love.
Rev. Sarah Wastella is the Associate Pastor at Larchmont United Methodist in Norfolk, Virginia. Her blog is She Offered Them Christ.