Tag Archive | lent

Only One Story Matters

The season of Lent is a time of reflection for the Christian, a chance to soberly analyze the cost of our redemption in Christ. God does not take sin lightly, and because of that, the only way to save us, the ones He loves, was to become our substitute and suffer the punishment in our place. God became flesh in the person of Jesus Christ, His Son, lived a perfect life for us, and died on the cross for all of our sins–for the sins of the entire world since time began and until it will end. It is a marvelous mystery, a wonderful miracle that has a divine logic that humans can really only understand through faith. The substitute had to be both human and Divine to truly take our place and then to conquer sin, death, and the devil.

These days I find myself in the middle of so many stories, my own, of course, but also too many TV shows, too many books, and even too many writing projects. Reflecting on God’s Grace, and on Jesus’s death and sacrifice helps me to slow down, to remember what’s really important. Even current events, alarming as they may be sometimes, necessarily fade in comparison. In the end, only one story matters, and that is the history of this world, the story God put into motion when He created it and then implemented a plan to save it and also to eventually end it. Someday this, world, this universe, will not exist, but we still will, for we have eternal souls. The believers will be with God in heaven and the unbelievers will live in torment, abandoned by a just God who cannot tolerate sin, although in His loving patience it may sometimes seem like He does. How happy and how awful at the same time, but that is the story. More than that, it is the reality we face. Where one is going to spend eternity is the only thing that matters, for there is no going back, no changing things, no exceptions if you belong to a certain group.

Lent is a chance to ponder the weight of evil. Sin, death, and the devil, cannot and could not be defeated without the shedding of blood. Our Savior paid a dear, dear price. But in looking to Jesus, we can see love and hope; we can see our redemption. Yes, it came at a great cost, but it is ours to have, forever. And it was sealed with Jesus’s resurrection from the dead, signally our own rise from the dead someday. And so Lent is also a time of great joy, almost a painful joy, in a way. The story, the true story of our redemption is the greatest story ever told, and the world itself testifies to that story every single day. May your Lenten season be filled with serious reflection and also joy in your Savior Jesus Christ.

The Ultimate Super Power

In writing fantasy and/or science fiction, it’s the job of the writer to come up with awesome, or at the very least, amusing super powers that their heroes or villains may possess.  As a Christian, I am time and again struck by how inadequate our imagination is, for we can’t come up with a power as amazing as the ultimate super power: the ability to forgive sins.  

Think about it, we may forgive each other for indiscretions, for breaking the laws of the land, etc., but we can in no way ensure that a person’s sins are completely gone, that they are forgotten, and that the person is now pure.  We can’t make them perfect in the eyes of everyone whoever lived, for future generations, and especially in the face of the laws written on our hearts, and even in those same the laws of the land.

A killer may repent, and may be “forgiven” by the world, but that sin will never truly be forgotten.  People will never stop thinking of that person as a killer.  Every job or loan application, every time his or her name is searched on the internet, their sin will still stand there accusing them.  One sin has tainted them forever.  One sin.  And just think how many wrongs we commit in a lifetime, how many bad thoughts we have, and how many times we fail to do the right thing.

Jesus Christ, the world’s savior, and every human’s personal savior, has the power to forgive sins.  He can and has erased our sins, taking them onto Himself so that by faith in Him we can stand the judgement of that law, written on our hearts, the law that is the absolute justice of God.  Through faith in Jesus, a killer can become innocent again; a liar, a truth teller; a rapist, a protector of those weaker than himself.  With true forgiveness of sins, all good things are possible, where before only evil was possible in the heart of man.

What’s flying or super strength or speed compared to that?  It doesn’t hold a candle to what Jesus can do.  Our fictional heroes are always confined in a way that God will never be.  Maybe that’s why it’s so hard to believe in Jesus for many.  His power is really beyond our imagination.  It’s a power that doesn’t make sense, it’s a power of love.  Love, now that really doesn’t make sense.  Who of us is worthy of love?  But God does love us, and sent Jesus to die for us so that we wouldn’t have to suffer the punishment for the awful things that we do and have done.

For me, this is the ultimate super power.

“And getting into a boat he crossed over and came to his own city. 2 And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic,
 “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” 
3 And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” 4 But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said,“Why do you think evil in your hearts?
5 For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? 
6 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic—“Rise, pick up your bed and go home.” 7 And he rose and went home. 8 When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men.” –Matthew 9:1-7 (ESV)