Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Could it be true?

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

Could it be true?

Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day...  I Corinthians 15:3

Could it be true?

The above passages are what Easter is all about for Christians. On Good Friday, we remember the death of Jesus. On Easter Sunday we celebrate Jesus rising from the dead, conquering sin and death and accessing eternal life for all who confess their need for a Savior.

Could this all be true? Or is it just some religious mythology helping some of us assuage a guilty conscience?

I've wondered this many times in my life. Belief has not and does not come easy to me.   

A passage in Romans 4 recently helped me in my ongoing battle for belief.
It is a section of scripture that reminds the New Testament reader of Old Testament Abraham.

Abraham was given a promise from God that he would become the father of many nations, but he was old. really old. Romans 4 says that his body was "as good as dead."  Umm, I'm no biblical scholar, but I'm thinking that is hinting at a really old Abraham, past the child bearing stage of life kind of old. 

And, Romans 4 tells us that he wasn't in denial about this. One version says Abraham "faced the facts"; another version tells us that he "considered his own body."

And, it's this phrase that caught me recently, "considered his own body."

When I consider--not the state of my physical body but rather the state of my soul--all I've done to incur God's wrath: the hatred I've had in my heart toward others, the selfishness I've had that has put others in harm's way at times, my pride that has refused to love others like Jesus has loved me, my disrespect toward others, my disregard for God's authority in my life, my disdain of the way God has allowed the circumstances of my life to play out at times, my foul mouth, anger, bitterness, rage, ingratitude...
and then consider that God knows deeper still how black and vile my heart is, it leaves me wonder often, "Could it be true?"

Could it be true that God's perfectly Holy Son would come to earth, take on human flesh, make Himself subject to earthly authorities, and follow His Father's plan which led Him to a bloody cross? For me?

Could it be true that Jesus incurred the full wrath of God that MY sins deserved, not His? He was sinless. He didn't deserve to be abandoned by God. I do, though.

Could it be true that this same Jesus, after being dead for 3 days, conquered death and rose again?

Could it be true that he then appeared as a risen Jesus to more than 500 people before He ascended into Heaven where He is NOW preparing an eternal home for me?

Could it be true that I will one day spend all eternity with Jesus in this eternal home the Bible calls Heaven, where there will be no more tears, no more death, no mourning, no crying, no pain?

Could it all really be true?

Romans 4 encourages me to believe that it could be true. 
You see Abraham was "as good as dead" but GOD told him he'd be the father of many nations. Romans 4 tells us Abraham "believed against all hope", "did not weaken in faith", "did not waver", "grew strong in faith", was "fully convinced that God was able to do what He had promised."

And Romans 4 tells me that I am to benefit from Abraham's example.
Romans 4 was written for me and for others who wonder, "Could it really be true?" Romans 4 tells us that Abraham's faith was counted to him as righteousness and that my belief will be counted to me as such, too.

And, I begin to hope, "Oh perhaps this is true. Wouldn't it be amazing if it were true?"

So, with that mustard seed of faith, I confess, "IT IS TRUE!"
I face the facts of who I am and yet without wavering, grow more fully convinced that God is able to do what He has promised.

And, I read beyond Romans 4 to Romans 5 where it tells me that this hope will NOT disappoint.
Psalm 25 confirms this as well, telling me that I, one who puts her hope in these truths, will not be put to shame. 

I will one day die. I will stand face to face with my Creator. I will be called to account for all my sins. I will be able to say, "Jesus has taken the punishment that I deserved for all my sins."  I will hear, "Enter into my rest, good and faithful servant." I will spend eternity in a Heavenly paradise, worshiping the One who saved me. 

I will then know that not only COULD it be true; it IS true!