June 27, 2014
By Skip Heitzig
I remember as a boy being taken by my father and mother on a vacation to the Grand Tetons in Wyoming. There’s a beautiful lake right in front of that mountain range, and there, in the morning, you can see a perfect reflection, a mirror image of those mountains in the clear, pristine, untouched waters. I wanted to see how far I could skip a stone across that glass-like surface, so I grabbed a flat stone, cocked my arm and pitched it…and something happened. As the stone hit the water, the image of the mountains was suddenly distorted. That which was perfectly clear and reflective was now marred.
That makes me think of an analogy: When Adam sinned, he took a stone, threw it into the lake of humanity, and marred the image of God in man.
How serious is sin? Paul said, “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). God told Adam not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, “for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:17).
Sin is our nature. “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12). We’re infected with the deadly, fatal disease of sin. But it’s not only part of our nature, it’s also our choice. We commit acts every day that offend our holy God.
Because of God’s holiness, sin will effectively separate a person forever from Him—unless something is done. The prophet Isaiah put it this way: “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you” (Isaiah 59:2).
And actually, that’s the story of the whole Bible: There is a gulf fixed between man and God. In the Old Testament, the only way to approach Him was through the sacrifice of an innocent animal. And that takes us to the cross, where holy and perfect God acted to save unholy and unrighteous man. Jesus lived the perfect life that we could never live, and then took all of our sins on Himself.
The cross is the only place where mercy and justice could meet. How can God be a God of love and a God of justice at the same time? Only at the cross. He came, He took the punishment, and He declares us righteous because of it.
What you need to understand is that God wants to forgive. It’s not that God reluctantly forgives; God loves to extend mercy! It pleased the Lord to bruise Christ, to make His soul an offering for sin (see Isaiah 53:10). When you invited Jesus into your life and asked Him to take all of your sins—that pleased the Father, for that was the reason He sent His Son. It was all for your forgiveness!
God wants to forgive. God wants to restore that image that was marred by sin. And just as Jesus Christ is the image of God (see 2 Corinthians 4:4), so we are being transformed into the same image (see 2 Corinthians 3:18). “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son” (Romans 8:29).
Jesus died so we could be remade into His image. May this truth be fresh and continue to transform our lives!
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