For five summers, I worked at my hometown pool as a lifeguard. To achieve this dream I'd had since I was a five-year-old fish (and here you thought I was a Bird!), I had to go through numerous classes, some of which taught us how to save a drowning person. We partnered up with our classmates to practice a number of scenarios: how to rescue someone who was struggling to stay afloat, how to approach someone who was panicked, and what to do with a person who was non-responsive. In each instance, we, as the rescuer, had to expect to do all the work of getting the drowning swimmer back to the pool side.
That gives you a small sliver of the work Jesus did in saving you from your sins.
With our 21 Days of Prayer now over (would you mind sharing about your experience?), I want to continue with what we considered during our spiritual journey: Gospel Growth. Today, we begin a new-yet-brief series about the "work" of Jesus through the cross and empty tomb. My hope is this series will help you be in awe of God (Day 9 of the 21 Days of Prayer) as you grow in your knowledge of the gospel (Day 8), leading to great joy (Day 10).
To kick things off, I want to start with one of the most commonly thought-of "works" Jesus did through the cross - saving humans from their sin.
In Luke 7, Jesus tells a parable about a moneylender who had two debtors. One of the debtors owed 500 denarii (roughly two years' salary), while the other owed fifty (about a month and a half of salary). The moneylender (for reasons Jesus does not give) forgave both of these men their debt. While both debtors would have obviously been happy in Jesus' little story-with-a-point, you and I both know the man with the greater debt would have had the greater joy.
Too often, I think most of us see our sin as being like a 50-denarii debt. We know we have done some wrong, even bad, things (like lying, overeating, ignoring someone's need, etc.), but we haven't done the REALLY BAD SINS (like murder, or adultery, or rooting for the Chicago White Sox 😉).
And yet, we aren't 50-denarii sinners. We are 500-denarii sinners. We are so deep in spiritual debt, we will never be able to work it off, no matter how many old women we help across the street.
To put it another way: we aren't just a struggling swimmer in need of a life preserver tossed our way. We are a dead-in-the-water-sinking-to-the-bottom sinner in need of a divine lifeguard who will do all the work to carry us to shore.
This is what God tells us in Paul's letter to the church in Ephesus:
"But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ... For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast."Ephesians 2:4-5, 8-9 (ESV)
If you have put all of your faith in Jesus' work through the cross and empty tomb, then celebrate today that Jesus has done all the work to save you from your sin, rescue you from spiritual death, release you from your spiritual debt, and make you alive with Him!
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