Drippings from the Honeycomb
More to be desired are [the rules of the Lord] than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. (Psalm 19:10)
The story of the thieves crucified with Jesus is an iconic story from the Bible (unless you don’t know anything about the Bible, as is the case of some).
Matthew 27:28 says, “Then two criminals were crucified with Him [Jesus], one on the right and one on the left.”
Three men: one the perfect Son of God; two guilty, yet one railing against Jesus until the end and the other softening, trusting and being assured eternal (Lk 23:43).
On this story I came across an anonymous historic quote that struck me with an angle of this story that I had never considered but which I found very profound. It said:
“One thief on the cross was saved, that none should despair; and only one, that none should presume.”
May we remember this simple story and quote when confronted with those who doubt salvation is possible or those who presume upon it.
What shall we call "Easter" or "Easter Sunday"?
You may have noticed that in recent years Christians have begun to question using the term “Easter” to refer to the period in which we remember Jesus’ death and resurrection (including Holy Week and Good Friday) and the Resurrection itself (Easter Sunday). This may in part be the fault of the Easter Bunny (secularism) or be a post-Christian Christian reaction to paganism (e.g. Eostre was a pagan fertility goddess in Northern Europe—the non-Germanic Christian world calls the holiday Pascha or Passover in continuity with the Jewish feast when Jesus died and rose). So with “Easter” behind us, what should it be called? Given the fragmented state of much of Western Christianity it is doubtful whether we’ll settle upon something here but may you never know?
Here are some options that have been suggested:
Have your say....
Person X has sinned. They feel guilty. They feel dirty. They feel helpless to deal with their burden. What can wash away their sin? ‘Nothing but the blood of Jesus!’ On Good Friday we remember God’s plan to address sin. The Cross is where Jesus died the death we deserve to die so that—in faith—we might be justified, or declared right (‘righteous’) in God’s sight.
The Bible famously uses a number of pictures to convey justification. Here are three:
Covered (Exodus 12:13)- The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt.
Cleansed (Ps 51:7)- Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Cleared Off (Ps 103:12)- as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
In each picture the guilt or penalty of sin is pictured as wonderfully and vividly removed from us. When we are in Christ we no longer stand condemned (Ro 4:6–8, 8:1, 33–4) but rather forgiven, just. Still more Christ’s righteousness is imputed (credited) to us so that in God’s sight not only are we not guilty but are righteous (Isa 61:10; R 5:19). All of our sins, past, present and future, are covered, cleansed and cleared off.
But this doesn’t mean sin does not exist in our lives. Jesus paid the penalty of our sin but is addressing the power of sin through imparted righteousness. Here He gives us His life-giving Spirit (1 Cor 15:45) so that we might be sanctified in actual fact. This too is wonderful news. Not only does Jesus impute righteousness, He also imparts it. He gives us the tools to deal with sin in our life, we are not alone.
And the end of the story is just as grand as its beginning, a day when the believer will be free from not only the penalty and power of sin but even its very presence (Rev 22).
Far too many needlessly labour under the burden of sin when imputed and imparted righteousness are offered in Jesus. He can and will cover, cleanse and clear off our sin when we come to Him in repentance and faith so that we may live a life free from guilt, free to live as God intended.
At the cross at the cross
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