Jesus’ Sacrifice: Incarnation to Propitiation

We often think of the sacrifice of Jesus strictly in relation to the cross, where Jesus died as a propitiation on our behalf—satisfying divine wrath for all who receive Jesus by faith (Rom. 3:21-26).  But have you ever considered how the sacrifice of Jesus began with the incarnation?

The apostle Paul says it this way in Philippians 2:5-8:

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human  form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death.”

In verse six, Paul clearly states the divinity of Jesus when he speaks of Jesus’ “equality with God.” This reminds us that Jesus is not a created being; he is not an angel. He was and is the eternally existing Creator and Sustainer of the universe; the maker of heaven and earth; the Alpha and the Omega. He is the highest, most glorious, and the most powerful entity in existence.

This is why the sacrifice of the incarnation is so beautiful.  As our Creator, Jesus could have chosen to remain on his heavenly throne and watch the human race melt away under the power and penalty of sin. He was under no obligation to rescue us by offering himself as a sacrifice of atonement for human sin. And why should he? After all, there was no advantage to be gained for himself by doing so. The only gain to be had was painful suffering.

That is the very point of the phrase, “a thing to be grasped” (v.6). The Greek word from which this phrase is translated denotes exploitation; or holding on to something for personal gain. Paul makes the point that Jesus could have used his divinity—and all the rights and privileges thereof—for his own personal safety, comfort, and advantage.

But instead, Jesus sacrificially relinquished all the rights and privileges inherit in divine power and glory by coming to us as a “servant (literally slave)…being born in the likeness of men (v.7),” eventually dying a cruel death on a cross (v.8).  The point of all of this is that Jesus’ immense sacrifice on our behalf should never be limited to his work on the cross. As profound and important as the cross may be, let us remember that there is no cross without the incarnation.

In the incarnation, Jesus sacrificed divine advantage for the benefit of others. The God of glory; the Lord of lords; the King of kings, the Highest of the high, became the lowest of the low when he entered the world in a manger in Bethlehem, all for the benefit of others. Don’t allow this season to pass without fully appreciating all that Jesus Christ sacrificed on your behalf, from the incarnation to his propitiation.  Spend time meditating on these wonderful truths and think of ways that you can sacrifice your own rights and privileges in service to Jesus Christ and his kingdom.

 

Gentlemen, this is a church!

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If you attend any denominational meeting these days you will no doubt hear about the staggering decline of the church in the United States. While the exact numbers differ depending upon the source, somewhere between four to ten thousand churches close their doors each year in the United States. If it weren’t for God’s sovereignty, the numbers would be downright frightful.

To be sure, multiple factors play into the demise of a church. But at some point, the church must examine herself to determine if there is something amiss within. A good starting point is to ask, “Why do we exist as a church? What is our purpose in the world as God’s people?”

Jesus says our purpose is the same purpose God gave the Old Testament people of God. In his parable of the “Wicked Tenants” (Mark 12:1-12), Jesus tells a story about a vineyard owner who leases his vineyard to tenant farmers. The vineyard represents the Jewish people, while the tenants represent the leaders God placed in charge of the people, giving them the ultimate task of leading the nation to produce spiritual fruit for the kingdom of God. Ultimately, the nation failed in this task, resulting in God’s judgment. In one of the most profound theological statements in the Bible, Jesus declares in Mark 12:9 that God would remove the vineyard from the possession of Israel and give it to “others”—the New Testament people of God; the church.

We now possess the vineyard, as such our task is the same as those who came before. Lest you are unconvinced, just hear Jesus’ words from John 15:1-2:

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away.”

The church exists for one purpose—to produce fruit for God’s kingdom; to make disciples of Jesus Christ. The question is: are so many churches dying because they have lost sight of the purpose of the church? Is God cutting away his unfruitful branches? It’s not a stretch, in my estimation.

Perhaps the most important question to ask is: Can the church reverse these trends? I’m convinced that the answer is “yes,” and the solution may be very simple. Consider the example of Vince Lombardi. In his first practice as the coach of the Green Bay Packers, Lombardi walked into the locker room with only a football and told his team quite simply, “Gentlemen, this is a football.”

Keep in mind these were professional football players. They knew very well that it was a football. But Lombardi’s goal was simple: he knew that his team needed to relearn the fundamentals of the game if they were to achieve any measure of success. So, he started at the most basic building block of all—identifying a football. The team then relearned the fundamentals of blocking and tackling; throwing and catching, and so on. Lombardi even simplified the play book to the most elementary levels. A few months later, the Packers won the first of many championships under Lombardi’s leadership.

When I examine many of our churches today, I see a great need to return to the fundamentals of the faith. So many of our churches have strayed from a focus on the gospel and Christian discipleship. The truth is, many churches have become weighed down by extra-biblical principles and entrenched institutionalism, informed more by human traditions than biblical fidelity. It could be that many churches would do well to simply return to the fundamentals of our faith; shaking off unbiblical church models and cluttered institutions with a renewed focus on clarifying the gospel and what it means to be a genuine follower of Christ, undergirded by systematic, Christ-centered preaching. Just think—the key to turning around the church could be as simple as relearning elementary principles. It could be as simple as saying, “Gentlemen, this is a church!”

 

Race and the Gospel: A Savior for All.

When Morgan Godwyn came to the American Colonies as a young minister in the mid-1600s, he came with a desire to convert African slaves to Christ. Unfortunately, his efforts were met with resistance from white slave owners, most of whom claimed to be followers of Christ themselves. Godwyn noted in his journal the typical response of these so-called Christians: “What, such as they? What, those black dogs be made Christians? What, shall they be like us?”

In my opinion, one of the saddest and most abhorrent blights upon the church of Jesus Christ has been the presence of racial bigotry among those who claim to be followers of Christ. As I stood to preach from Mark 7:24-37 yesterday, I told our people that racial bigotry has no place in the church of Jesus Christ. In this text, Jesus demonstrated God’s love for all people as he ministers to two Gentiles.

In the Jewish mindset of Jesus’ day, there were only two races of people on earth: there were Jews and everyone else. It made no difference the color of your skin, or your country of origin; if you were not an ethnic Jew you were a Gentile. Further, I believe it’s fair to say that many Jews were racially biased against the Gentiles. Much like the prophet Jonah, some could never conceive of God pouring out his love and forgiveness upon Gentiles, simply because they were Gentiles.

But such beliefs by first-century Jews were based on misunderstandings of, or ignorance of, Scripture. For instance, when Jesus encounters the Gentile woman in Tyre—located in Lebanon—she seems to know how the Old Testament prophets (Isaiah in this case) foretold of a time when God’s salvation would be poured out upon the Gentiles (Mark 7:24-30): “The deserts shall rejoice…the glory of Lebanon…will see the glory of the LORD, the majesty  of our God” (Isaiah 35:2).

In other words, she seems to understand from Scripture what many Jews of Jesus’ day did not: God’s salvation offered to the Jews was also intended for Gentiles. The bottom line: all people are welcome in the kingdom of God, regardless of the color of their skin, their ethnic background, or their country of origin.

Like many Jews before, many self-proclaimed Christians have justified racial prejudice based on gross misunderstandings of, or simple ignorance of, Scripture. Some, for instance, have claimed that God forbids interracial marriage based on poor exegetical conclusions from the books of Ezra and Nehemiah (and other Old Testament texts). Not only are such conclusions based on faulty exegesis, they also show complete disregard for God’s character, and demonstrate ignorance of Scripture. Three examples should suffice.

First, Moses—perhaps the greatest Old Testament figure—was married to a “Cushite.” Cush was south of Ethiopia, where the people were known for their dark-colored skin. Interestingly, in Numbers 12:1-10, when Moses’ sister speaks against Moses’ interracial marriage, God strikes her with leprosy! Secondly, Joseph, the man God used to protect the human ancestry of Christ, married an Egyptian (Gen. 41). Third, there is the supreme example of Jesus Christ himself, whose human genealogy (Matt. 1:1-17) includes both Gentiles and Jews and at least one interracial marriage between Ruth (Gentile) and Boaz (Jew). Obviously, God has no problem with interracial marriage.

I say all of that to say this: racial bigotry has no place in the the life of those who claim to be Christians. Racial prejudice is an affront to God’s character and an affront to the gospel of Jesus Christ. If you harbor any ounce of racial bigotry in your life, you should seek God’s forgiveness and repent, lest God judge you as he did Moses’ sister.

 

 

 

 

 

Reflecting on Year One

uhalNext week will mark one year of service for me as pastor of Main Street. On the Sunday I was installed as pastor, I told our people: “I never want to move again!” Kernersville was our fourth move in six years, so by the time our family unpacked yet another U-Haul, we could not bear the thought of doing it again. For that—and other reasons—my aim from day one was to serve and lead with a view toward the future, with the prayerful hope that God would graciously allow me a long tenure at Main Street that would result in much gospel fruit abounding to his glory. One year later, my prayers and desires for the future remain unchanged!

As I reflect on the past year, I am grateful for all that God has allowed us to accomplish. It’s been a busy year, and, from my perspective, we haven’t been busy for the sake of being busy! Every accomplishment of the past year has been designed to lay a solid foundation for the future; preparing Main Street to be a viable gospel-witness in the heart of Kernersville for generations to come.

Below are some of the highlights of the past year:

  • Instituted Membership Class: To my knowledge, Main Street never had a membership class before. The membership class not only introduces prospective members to who we are, it also encourages people to join. This class has paid dividends—we have welcomed 16 new members into our fellowship since September.
  • New Website: In the twenty-first century, the first door most people “walk through” is the website. Understanding this principle, it was critical that we update our website. Although our present website may not be the hippest, it is at least functional, easier on the eyes, and more user friendly compared to the previous site!
  • Rebranded: Along with a new web design came a new logo, which reflects my desire that we will be a church that “Exalts Christ” in all we do.
  • Transitioned to One Service: When I arrived at Main Street I soon discovered that I was the pastor—in effect—of two churches; one worshiped during our “contemporary” service; the other during our “traditional” service. For several reasons, both theological and practical, I realized immediately the importance of transitioning to one blended service. Though it took much time and planning, we made the transition in March with relative ease.
  • Staff Changes: In June, we transitioned our former Youth Director to a new position: Director of Missions, Outreach, and Discipleship. This move was born out of a deep desire to transform Main Street into a church that is faithful to live on mission to the glory of God.
  • Baptisms: We baptized eight new believers in Jesus Christ this year. Six of the eight are somewhat unique in Baptist life: adults who were never baptized as children. The other two were children.

I am grateful to God for how he has moved at Main Street in the past year. I’m also grateful to the members of Main Street who have embraced much change. They are to be commended. The above could never have happened without their support.

Going forward, much work remains undone and many challenges lie ahead. But I am convinced as much today, as I was twelve months ago, that Main Street’s best days are ahead of us, and not behind. If we remain faithful to the task God has given us, I have no doubt that he will continue to bless us in the months and years ahead.

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…” Matthew 28:19

 

 

 

Polycarp, Smyrna, and Revelation: A Lesson in Contextualization.

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Allow me to introduce Polycarp, a church father and pastor of the church in Smyrna. According to church tradition, Polycarp was installed as pastor of Smyrna by John the apostle near the end of John’s life. If so, Polycarp served the church in Smyrna for more than 50 years before his martyrdom in 156 A.D.  Why was Polycarp martyred? He refused to bow to Caesar and the gods of Rome, choosing instead to worship Christ alone. As Polycarp neared death by fire, he was urged to renounce Christ and promised freedom if he acquiesced. The aged pastor bravely responded, “Eighty-six years have I have served [Christ] and he has done me no wrong. How can I blaspheme my King and my Savior?”

Smyrna was one of the seven churches to whom John wrote the book of Revelation, about 50-60 years before Polycarp’s death. I am convinced that if we are to rightly understand Revelation, we must begin by understanding Revelation in its original context, which is rooted in the seven churches of Revelation 2-3.  Revelation addresses these specific churches, all of which faced certain challenges and problems within. John’s message to these churches includes a mix of commendations, rebukes, warnings, and encouragements specific to each context. When we understand the original context, we will be better prepared to understand the symbols and imagery of Revelation.

It’s interesting to note that Smyrna and Philadelphia are the only two churches not rebuked. Both churches are highly praised for the same reason: they remained faithful to Christ despite persecution. In both churches, the source of persecution includes a “synagogue of Satan” and those “who claim to be Jews” but are not Jews (2:9; 3:9). The popular interpretation is that these groups represent Jewish opponents of Christians. While that may be true, another possibility exists.

It’s possible that John refers to Gentile Christians who have Judaized—that is, gone to the synagogue—for the sole purpose of avoiding persecution and or social ostracism as Christians. This view takes the literal sense of John’s words seriously (those who claim to be Jews but are not Jews would be Gentiles), and rightly recalls that Judaism was a protected religion of the Roman Empire (outside the city of Rome, at least), while Christianity was not. It could be that these turncoats have not only Judaized, they may have also “outed” faithful Christians, resulting in persecution.  If true, these Judaizers may represent the “cowardly,” “the murderers,” and the “liars” sentenced to the “fiery lake of burning sulfur” at the end of Revelation (21:8).

Either way, there is a clear connection between the issues in the seven churches and the blessings and punishments promised at the end (compare chs. 2-3 to chs. 20-22). This is further evidence that much of Revelation was intended to be understood by John’s original audience, rather than serving as a cryptic telegram of end-time events and details.  To those who forsook Christ, Revelation issues rebukes and warns of God’s sure judgment. To those who remained faithful, Revelation commends and encourages while reminding of future reward—inheritance in the new heaven and new earth (Rev. 21).

Though I cannot prove it, I’d like to think that the promises and encouragements of Revelation were prominent in Polycarp’s mind as he faced the fires of earthly death. As the aged pastor of Smyrna bravely stood at the stake, perhaps the words of Christ—communicated by John— to the church of Smyrna whispered in his ear: “Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Rev. 2:10).

Returning to Missions

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As I stood to preach from Mark 6:7-13 a couple weeks ago, I shared with our church family some sobering statistics concerning the health of the church in the United States.

Consider the following from LifeWay Research:

  • Over the next seven years, 55,000 churches will close their doors.
  • Only 20 percent of churches in the United States are growing.
  • Only 1 percent are growing by making disciples of Jesus Christ.

No matter how you slice it, the church in the United States is losing ground. It’s easy to cast blame on the broader culture, but if the church is to reverse these trends it must first examine itself.

In Matthew 16:18, Jesus said, “I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Generations of Christians have assumed that if they remained faithful to come to church, give their tithes and offerings, sit under faithful gospel-preaching, etc., the church could never fail. After all, Jesus said so right there in Matthew 16! The above statistics prove otherwise. Many of those 55,000 churches have been faithful to preach and teach the gospel within the walls of the church edifice. So why are so many “faithful” churches failing?

It could be that we have misunderstood the imagery of Matthew 16. When Jesus speaks of a “gate,” he is drawing imagery from the ancient world, in which city gates were the most strategic defensive weapons of a city. City gates were designed to keep invading armies out, and to keep the people inside secure. When Jesus says, “the gates of hell shall not prevail,” he is suggesting the church is like an army on the offensive, and its primary mission is overrunning the kingdom of hell.

This reminds us of an important principle of mission: our mission lies far beyond the walls of our church buildings. We can’t set the captives of hell free by playing it safe in our own sanctuaries. We must invade enemy territory to transfer people from the domain of Satan into the kingdom of God (Colossians 1:13). When the church lives for this purpose nothing can stop it, not even the gates of hell.

We see the seeds of this principle in Mark 6:7-13, where Jesus sends his disciples out on their first mission endeavor. He’s trained them and equipped them, and now they are ready to invade enemy territory. As the disciples went, Jesus “authorized” their mission. Note specifically that he gave them authority to exorcise demons—to overrun the gates of hell (Mark 6:7)! He also instructed them to go with the bare necessitates, trusting God to provide. In the same way, Jesus has authorized us to “go” (Matt. 28:18-19). As we are faithful to go, I believe we can trust God to provide all we need.

One of my goals for Main Street is that we would be obedient to “go” beyond the walls of our church. I am pleased to see the church respond well, as just this week we made an important staff change to implement a renewed missions emphasis. Daniel McNeil, our previous youth director, has agreed to transition to Director of Missions, Outreach, and Discipleship. I am looking forward to working with Daniel as we begin to form a strategic focus on missions for Main Street. Please pray for us as we seek to go. Pray that our people would be eager to go. Pray that we will trust God to provide our needs. Pray most of all that the result would be an abundance of gospel fruit, leading to the glory and praise of our wonderful Savior, Jesus Christ.

 

Revelation Primer: The Purpose of Revelation

This coming Wednesday we will begin a nine-week study of Revelation at Main Street. I’m excited to study this important book with my Main Street family because I’m convinced Revelation has much to say to Christians today, although my understanding may be different than most popular approaches. I’m also a bit apprehensive to teach from a book that has puzzled theologians and scholars throughout church history. That John Calvin and Martin Luther each took a pass on writing a commentary on Revelation reminds us to approach the book (as with all Scripture) with much wisdom and humility.

Christians are fascinated by Revelation, drawn to it by its striking imagery and prophetic vision of the future. Unfortunately, this fascination often grows into preoccupation, leading to fruitless speculation regarding the meaning of the seals, trumpets, bowls, the 1260 days (12:6), the dragon with multiple heads and horns, the 144,000, etc., etc. A wide array of speculation is bandied about concerning these symbols, mostly under the assumption that Revelation speaks exclusively of end-time events, and that the book’s symbolism serves to unlock specific clues related to those events. This has given rise to “newspaper” theology, in which Christians scan the headlines of world events and superimpose them over the symbols of Revelation, wondering if the end is nigh. To me, such an approach misses the primary purpose and meaning of Revelation.

While Revelation certainly speaks of events yet future (Christ’s return/the new heaven and new earth/the final judgment), there is good reason to believe that much of its symbolism and imagery was never intended as keys to unlocking precise details of future events and persons.

For starters, an end-times-only lens of interpretation fails to account for the book’s original audience—the seven churches of Asia (Rev. 2-3)—and what it meant to them. When this fundamental principle of biblical interpretation is considered, we soon realize that much of the book’s symbolism was intended for John’s original audience to understand and apply to their specific situation. If they could understand the meaning and significance of the symbols—which seems likely—then it stands to reason very little of it was intended solely as interpretive keys for a future generation of Christians. Moreover, the book states that the events of the book were to take place soon (1:3; 22:10), and promises a blessing to all who read it and keep its message (1:3; 22:7).

The point is, any viable interpretation of Revelation must begin by understanding that Revelation was intended to be understood by its original audience and every generation of Christians thereafter, not just those fortunate enough to live at the time of Christ’s return. Endless speculation and “newspaper” theology was never the intent of Revelation. This is confirmed when we remember that Jesus warned his disciples about becoming preoccupied with the timing of his return. Instead, they were to remain focused on the mission at hand (Matt. 24:36-51; Acts 1:7-8).

Revelation carries a similar message. The book was written to Christians; some of whom were suffering persecution; some of whom were compromising their faith and values with the world. To the persecuted Christians, Revelation is an encouraging reminder to stand firm in their faith, trusting that Christ will vindicate them and that all evil will be punished by his coming wrath. To the Christians seeking worldly compromise, Revelation sends a sobering message of the need to repent, or else they too will endure divine wrath.

Therefore, Revelation is first and foremost an enduring call to Christians of all generations to remain faithful to Christ to the end. Those who endure can lay claim to immense blessings promised to all who obey the teachings of the book and overcome. All who overcome will have their names recorded in the book of life (Rev. 20:11-15), and reap the reward of everlasting life in the presence of their great and mighty Savior, Jesus Christ, in the new heaven and the new earth (Rev. 21).

Mother’s Day 2016: A Bittersweet Experience.

It was one year ago this month that Main Street Baptist Church voted me to be their senior pastor. That made Mother’s Day, 2016, one of the most bittersweet days of my life.

Bitter because I stood before Wood Baptist Church that Mother’s Day announcing my intent to accept the call to Main Street. That was, in all honesty, a most gut-wrenching experience. In fact, I cried like a baby when I announced my decision at the close of the service. Wood was a special place, plain and simple. My time in Wood convinced me that there is no other place on earth like it. In my 20 months as pastor of Wood Baptist Church, I developed a deep love and attachment to the people. The people of Wood made us feel like family and we made some life-long friends there. It was also special to me because Wood Baptist Church gave me my first opportunity to serve as a pastor. I will always be grateful for my time in Wood.

But I knew I had to leave, because I knew God was behind the move. That turned an otherwise bitter experience into something sweet.

I’ve never shared publicly the details of how we arrived at Main Street. I’m certain some people questioned my motives: “Is he just looking to move from church to church? Is he just looking for a bigger church; a bigger payday?” That wasn’t the case at all.

One morning in January 2016, my wife told me she had a dream the night before. The gist of the dream was this: when God came to get us, we were to go, no questions asked. Honestly, I was skeptical that morning. But two weeks later I received a call from a friend who told me he wanted to give my resume to Main Street Baptist Church. According to the church’s website, they were looking for a candidate with a minimum of five years experience. At the time, I had a grand total of 16 months experience in the pastorate, and I was less than one month removed from completing seminary. At that moment, I thought to myself, “That will never happen.” But within a matter of weeks I received a call from the pastor search committee. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Some may balk at my wife’s dream. But here’s what I know: the events of the past year have confirmed God’s hand in our move to Main Street. He has blessed us with a wonderful church family and community in Kernersville. More importantly, we see clear evidence of God’s handiwork at Main Street in the past year, and we expect even greater things ahead in the years to come.

Tragic Unbelief and the Offense of Jesus (Mark 6:1-6)

“And they took offense at him.” Mark 6:3

In Mark 6, Jesus returns to his hometown of Nazareth, presumably invited to speak in the synagogue. What should have been a time to celebrate the return of a hometown hero ends in tragedy. Mark communicates the tragedy of it all in verse five, saying:

5And he could do no mighty work there,…” 

It wasn’t that Jesus couldn’t do a mighty work. Rather, he wouldn’t do a mighty work. Why? Because the people did not believe. They rejected Jesus in unbelief, and in turn, Jesus rejected them by removing divine blessing. The story is conveyed with a profound sense of sadness. The truth is, the episode in Nazareth illustrates a larger spiritual truth. When people express unbelief in Jesus, Jesus rejects them, and that is always profoundly tragic.

Notice how the people’s rejection began. They were offended by Jesus (6:3). How or why they were offended is unclear. Maybe they were thinking, “He’s from Nazareth, too. He’s no better than us!” Or perhaps they were offended by something Jesus claimed in his message. Elsewhere, Jesus made claims of deity when he claimed to be “the Son of Man” and “the Lord of the Sabbath” (cf. Mark 2:12; 27-28). Both times he created quite a stir! Whatever the case, the people took offense at Jesus.

Their offense mirrors the way modern people take offense at Jesus and his gospel. By its very nature, the gospel is offensive to humans (Gal. 5:11). The gospel says all are inherently sinful, rebellious, and deserving of God’s wrath (Rom. 2; John 3:18). All of this is offensive to the sensibilities of modern men and women, who deny their sinful state and their need of salvation. The fact is, most modern people believe they are basically good and God must accept them as they are. Such perceptions, I believe, distort reality.

Here’s what I mean by that. As humans, we can’t comprehend God’s complete holiness, righteousness, and perfection.  At the same time, we tend to overlook that the very best of us fall well short of God’s perfection (Rom. 3:23). If you are honest with yourself, you must admit this.  What modern man fails to understand, then, is that we are offensive to a holy God. Our sin is what’s truly offensive in this world. Isaiah captures this principle when he writes:

“All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags.” Isaiah 64:6

I’m aware of how depressing this must sound—and it truly is. Thankfully, there is good news. Because God is a God of love, he has made a way of salvation for all men and women, regardless of how great—offensive—our sin may be.

Let me give you an illustration. As a father, I’ve changed my share of diapers. Here’s one thing I’ve learned: the older a child gets, the more offensive the diapers become. And I do mean offensive. It’s so bad, sometimes my wife and I look at each other and say, “It’s your turn! He’s your child.” The dirty diaper of a three-year-old can be down-right offensive. But because I love my child, and because cleanliness is important to me, I overcome the offense of the diaper and clean my child.

In the same way, God is willing to overcome the offense of our sin, and he is willing to cleanse us when we come to him by faith, recognizing our need for forgiveness and believing in the person and works of Christ.

“If we confess our sin, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

Jesus was without honor in his hometown because the people rejected him in unbelief. You must not make the same mistake. To reject Jesus is nothing less than tragic—a tragedy that endures for eternity.  But on the other hand, to receive Jesus by faith is to receive divine blessings for all eternity.