Enter Paradise: A Reflection

©CreationSwap/Micah Claycamp
I was moved by one of the songs sang during our Easter service at church. It essentially held the Gospel word per word, proclaiming our Savior's sacrifice to bring us peace and life.

Listening to the song today, I could not help but reflect on God's grace and mercy. Some made an acronym of the word grace that goes, "God's riches at Christ's expense." Grace is basically God giving us what we do not deserve. And mercy is the other side of the coin-- God withholding that which we deserve.

I will never forget these definitions. God gave His greatest treasures to us-- forgiveness and personal relationship-- at the cost of His precious Son. We do not deserve these gifts because we are sinners to the core (Isaiah 53:6). And by this I mean we do not meet God's standards of perfection (Romans 3:23).

Who can claim that he or she is righteous enough, holy enough, good enough to enter paradise on his or her own merit? If there were such a person, I tell you that his greatest sin is pride. And for this pride, he falls short of God's definition of righteousness (Matthew 5:3). For this pride, he accumulates for himself the wages of sin which is death, eternal spiritual death (Romans 6:23).

This death is what God withheld by His mercy. Instead of placing it upon us, Jesus received the punishment humbly in our place. Sheer love...unspeakable love (John 3:16).

Just imagine. The King of kings, the Lord of lords, the Maker of everything in the universe chose to be among us, to be one with us. He set aside majesty and glory and took on the humble estate of a man (Philippians 2). Why did He do it? Because only by becoming like us-- apart from our sinfulness (Hebrews 4:15)-- can He be accepted as our substitute.

No other faith system in the world proclaims a God who chooses to die in order to save His creation. You find this only in the Biblical Christian faith. Whereas world religions say, "Reach to your gods. Do your best so that your gods will accept you. Do good. Die a martyr," Christian faith says, "It is finished. Not by your works but by the grace of God can you be saved (Ephesians 2:8-9)."

One tells you to struggle heavenward. The other whispers, "God has come down to be with us." No wonder one of Jesus' names, "Immanuel," means God with us.

And as we hear in the song, mercy and grace's price is costly. It is the life of the Son. Yet, by His "wounds we are healed" from our spiritual sickness. Isaiah sums it up, "But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53:5)."

No wonder that the only fitting response is faith-- to trust in Jesus, to turn to the Savior, to gaze at our Lord. The work has been done! God is not waiting for us to fill up what has already been finished at the cross. He is waiting for us to embrace His Son, for in so doing, His righteousness becomes ours. We are counted worthy at that very moment, and He begins to work towards our perfection until the Day Jesus comes again.

May this song minister to you. As you listen, I encourage you to reflect on your faith. Do you know facts about Jesus? Or do you truly know and trust Jesus?

May you be blessed!

In Christ,

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