My Consequence and My Pardon

I am a sinner saved by grace and in this present world, I will never be anything else. That doesn’t mean that the grace I’ve received is a cloak for evil. My profession of faith isn’t a ticket to sin without punishment. What I do avoid by my acceptance of Christ is what the Bible describes as the “second death”. I believe in Judgment Day and on that Day the pardon I’ve received through faith in Jesus will keep me safe from the final death of spirit and soul that I and all human beings deserve. Jesus didn’t die to make me a moral person. Jesus died to give me and anyone else who will accept it, eternal life. Jesus died in order to reunite God and man. Faith in Jesus isn’t a matter of morality. It is a matter of life or death. However, I am changed by having Jesus at the center of my life and my desire to sin is diminished by my greater desire to please God. The gift of eternal life is a morally transforming gift.

As a sinner saved by grace, I still suffer the consequences when I sin. Those consequences are natural and inescapable. No one is able to break God’s Law and avoid what those wrong actions create even if they escape human punishment. I have been sick for the better part of forty years now, due to a serious sin I committed against myself as a teenager. I have changed my life since then and there are those who love me and think that God is being very unfair toward me in allowing me to suffer for a mistake I made as a child. I know that if God hadn’t intervened in my life, I never would have been able to change my life, and I would most likely be dead, forever separated from God. My illness is simply the natural consequence attached to my sin and part of my cross to bear. Others doubt my faith or think I suffer needlessly because my faith is weak but my faith doesn’t come from me. It too is a gift from God and the consequences I endure prove the durability of my precious gift. Without Christ, I would be a physically broken bitter old woman. With Christ, I am a physically broken joyful old woman. All that should have embittered me has taught me empathy and opened many doors into the lives of others that enable me to share God’s love and comfort with my fellow, suffering sinners. The consequence of my foolish actions keeps me humble and in a position that allows God to work through me more effectively. I endure because I know ultimately, my healing is coming. Because Jesus died for me, I will physically die only once, and I will rise again to live with Him in a better world.

As a sinner saved by grace, I also suffer as a result of the sins of others. In fact, some of those sins are what drove me, as a child, to use drugs. However, I am still accountable for my actions as those who hurt me are accountable for theirs. The sin I committed against myself hurt me, hurt the people who loved me, hurt the people who love me now, and most of all hurt my Heavenly Father. My sin put Jesus on the cross and His physical sacrifice made it possible for me to be granted forgiveness from God. In the same way, I a sinner must forgive those who sinned against me. That doesn’t mean they will accept my forgiveness by taking responsibility for their actions. I can’t do their part of restoring our relationship. I can’t force what even God doesn’t force upon others. It does mean that I pardon them just as in Christ I am pardoned. I am unable to do this on my own but because Jesus lives in me by faith, the Holy Spirit enables me to do what is humanly impossible.

This is what the cross means personally, to me. I know it sounds very foolish to most but that is the power and the ultimate wisdom of the cross of Christ. True foolishness is to reject the free gift of eternal life by denying the price Jesus paid to obtain it and then offer it freely to all who will believe. True foolishness is to deny the fallen state of mankind and our need for God. We can never be Him and will only die trying. My prayer during this time of year when the world considers the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus is that eyes and hearts will be opened to realize the need for salvation found only, at the foot of the cross of Christ. Please, accept your pardon today.



Spiritual Joy is Organic

As I sit down to write, my dishwasher begins to beep, my phone is ringing, and someone is texting me an instant message; all the devices meant to serve me are instead, ruling over me. Digital governance is becoming more dominant every day and if I’m not mindful of it, my every waking move is digitally dictated. Alternating between my online world and my organic work-a –day world is normal now but sometimes the lines between the two are very blurred. As technology becomes more magical the dream world it creates can sometimes, seem more real than physical realty. It is also, becoming increasing difficult to govern a people with such technological power at their fingertips and I realize that digital rule is the logical path for those deemed responsible to govern the people. The digital beeps and jingles that direct my tasks at home are only, a shadow of what is bound to come. Everything about everyone is cataloged on Google and in social media, neatly arranged with faces, personal info, contacts, and every religious, political, and philosophical opinion attached. All are known and circled with people of like-minds, ready to be gathered at a moment’s notice, should the need arise. I feel a cold shadow pass over my joy.

I step outside and am met with warming relief as my skin makes contact with the sun. The golden leaves of the Cottonwoods shimmering against a crystal blue October sky, massaging the digital knots out of my mind. I hear birds singing in celebration as birds have sung their praises to God for millennia and I behold the Garden of Eden and in my mind’s eye I see those angels, barring the entrance against all fallen human beings. I look again at the natural beauty around me and I see joy. The sun, the color, the breeze, the birds, every plant and every creature doing exactly, what God designed them to do; with no thought of their needs not being met in the organic world from which they were formed and to which they will return. A police siren pierces the air and breaks into my peaceful reverie, just as the sin of Eve and then Adam, pierced the natural order of God’s creation, such a long time ago. The Garden of Eden wasn’t enough for them. They wanted to be like God and make choices in his place. Many ages later, human beings are doing the same. We traded the Garden for sorcery and now, the Garden surrounds us but we can’t enter because of our refusal to allow God to be God. My thoughts return to the organic beauty around me and my spirit looks upward and I remember His faithfulness. Since coming to Jesus, I have never known hunger or want. He provides for all of my needs and has sometimes, done so in miraculous ways. I realize that in Jesus, I am spiritually living in that beautiful Garden that my Father Created for His children but it isn’t yet, fully visible. When Jesus returns, all human sorcery will come to an end and the natural order of things will return. His thousand-year reign will end as we and all of Creation pass into the eternal state and re-enter that blessed Garden.

The shadow passes, my joy blazes bright, removing all of my angst and fear. I sing my praises to God, in unison with the birds, and in a gentle dancing sway, rejoice with the wind and the trees. The delusional dream sweeping over the planet has no hold over me. My joy, that I now know spiritually, is also, organic and will be fully, established when “the faith becomes sight”. The Creation will be fully restored, when man is humbled, and takes his seat in the natural order; a new world where God is God and man is content to be man. Until then, I rest safely beneath my Father’s wing, thankful that I am in the world but not of it. I open my lap-top, re-enter the digital world, and write to share Jesus, the light Who shines bright into the world of digital darkness, leading all who will believe to a new world of organic joy.