Friday, April 2, 2010

I am Thankful Jesus Died for Us

It is Good Friday, the day we remember the atoning sacrifice of Jesus. I will not sermonize, much. I do want to say I am thankful He laid down his life for all of creation. We often say “I am thankful Jesus died for me” with the emphasis on “me.” Such gratitude is appropriate but often skewed. Myopic interpretations of the crucifixion easily lead to a limited atonement and a depreciation of creation. It is as if the incarnation was just a necessary but insignificant step toward Christ’s death and resurrection. Correspondingly, the glorified Savior is perceived as having a spiritual body and little connection to the material world.

The gospel is that God became flesh in Christ and through His death and resurrection He remains forever fully human: fully creator, fully created. The Ancient of Days became the Eternal Baby, the fountain of life that cannot be stopped, ensuring the never ending renewal of creation.

The significance is that Christ died to redeem all of creation, all of the material world, all that lives, not just me (Romans 8: 18-23). Further, Christ died for all of creation in all of history, past, present, and future. He did not die just so that our souls could go to heaven. He died so that our entire lives can be redeemed unto the glory of God. Everything that happens to me is redeemed so that it serves with all other events in my life for my good and the glory of Christ. Every blessing and every evil becomes an instrument in God’s righteous plan for all things. And this is true for all that is in Christ. We indeed are his body, His created existence expressed in love and unity with all of His creation.

And so we call this Good Friday. It is noteworthy that the first Friday was the last day of creation and when God surveyed all that He had made he said it was “very good” (Genesis 1:31).  On Calvary God again surveyed all He had made only now it was marred by sin, dead and dying. Yet, He proclaimed once more “it is finished” (John 19:30) and with those words He affirmed again “My creation is good,” adding “it is worth dying for.”

Thus, Jesus did not lay down His life to deliver us out of creation. He gave Himself so that we might fulfill the purpose for our existence, so that we might reign with Him and tend to His creation.

I am not alone. I am not worthless. I am not insignificant. I am an heir and a joint heir with the One who fills all of creation.

Cleveland, Tennessee
April 2, 2010

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