Friday, February 11, 2011

He Gave Up God for Me

I speak the truth in Christ – I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit – I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, the people of Israel. (Romans 9:1-4, NIV)

Paul says something incredibly unbelievable here. He would give up his eternal relationship with Jesus Christ – he would trade his salvation – if that meant his countrymen would then know the grace and peace of a relationship with Christ. That begs the question, “Is there anyone I would give up my relationship with Christ for that they might in turn have a relationship with Christ?” Not just a chance at redemption, mind you, but an actual true and honest relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. I have to admit, I’m not as good a person as Paul for I can think of no one that I would willingly give up Christ for, not even for their own salvation. Don’t get me wrong – I love you all with the love Christ has given me and I love my family and friends deeply and would give up everything else I have for them, but not my relationship with my Savior.

Why would Paul say such a thing? How could the Spirit have led Paul to write such a thing? And what about Jesus? What would he have said to Paul? Would he have reprimanded him? Told him that their relationship is too precious a thing to give up or consider giving away? But wait – Isn’t that exactly what Jesus did? Didn’t he leave behind his unique relationship with the Father and the Holy Spirit to come to earth? And didn’t he, as he hung on the cross, give up all connection with the Father and the Holy Spirit so that I would have the opportunity to draw close to God if I so chose? As he called out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me,” he experienced the emptiness and hopelessness that exists in separation from God and it must have been intensified by the fact that he had known perfect communion with the Father and Spirit, and yet, willingly let it be ripped away so that you and I might one day enter into God’s grace and redemption.

All I can say is, “Praise Jesus, my Lord and Savior!” Thank you Lord for your sacrifice and for the grace and love I now enjoy in our ever deepening relationship.

About the pictures:
Camp Crestfield, Slippery Rock, PA (January 2011)

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