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Over the past few years my blog has been visited by people from all over the world. Very few know me, or of me, they simply are looking information concerning the Bible and discover my blog. After many years of intense study and teaching, I've come to believe we are vulnerable to misguided and incorrect teaching if we don't understand for ourselves the teaching of God's Word. My 'hot buttons' are - grace, sovereignty, exhortations and sanctification. If you understand these basic principles of Scripture, and apply them to daily life, you will understand what it means to have peace, joy and absolute security in any circumstance.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

THE CROSS, DOES IT MATTER?

I Corinthians 15:3

"For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time. . ."

Does it matter that Jesus died on a cross and rose again? In a word, YES! This is the gospel. In fact this truth matters more than anything else in life because we are on earth for a very short time in terms of eternity, but eternal life will last forever. 'Forever' is a hard concept to hold onto because this world is so fragile and finite. "Here today, gone tomorrow" is the way we live. Some things have more value to us than others. I've posted a picture of a Bible that was given to my grandmother in Malmo, Sweden by her parents in 1889 when she became 'confirmed in the faith'.

The Bible has a cover made of wood. It's printed in Swedish of course so I can't read it. One of the most precious things about this Bible is the flowers she pressed among its pages. I wonder what significance they had to her. Maybe a flower from her wedding bouquet, or from the service of her first-born son Oscar who died of diphtheria when he was a young child. Or, maybe a flower from the service of  three year old Hilder who also died of diphtheria after the family moved to Minnesota in the United States in 1906. Possibly one of the saved blossoms came from her husband for a special occasion, birthday, anniversary or even the birth of another child. I didn't ask enough questions, not of my grandmother, not of my mother and aunts; now, I'll never know.

What really thrills me the most are the hand written verses on the front page, and passages that have been underlined. This shows me my forefathers respected and believed in the Word of God. The Bible was precious and I know I'll be spending eternity with them.

John 1:29 - "The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the World."  

My great-grandparents knew Jesus was Lord and Savior, the One God had sent to pay the penalty for our sins.

Galatians 3:24 - "So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith."

I can't tell you how this excites me! My relatives understood grace and that we come into the Kingdom of God not by our ability to keep the 'law' - Ten Commandments, but by understanding we are not able to keep the law and therefore we need a Savior. I'm sure they also were familiar with a verse in Galatians 2:21 - "I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing." In other words, if we could have become righteous in God's eyes on our own, Jesus would not have had to die on the cross.

Jesus has done all the work, we simply love Him and enjoy the blessings of being a 'King's Kid!' The best verse I know that so clearly says God has done it all is Romans 8:30...

"And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified."

I Peter 5: 5-10 is another passage my great-grandfather wrote in the Bible they gave my grandmother who was a young teenager at the time. In hopes that you'll look up this passage, I'll summarize the key points. It says that we should humble ourselves under God's mighty hand, "that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you." Peter wrote to be alert because the devil is looking for someone to devour. "Resist him, standing firm in the faith. . ." Peter finishes with this, "And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ...will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen."

My sweet little Swedish grandmother, Johanna Enroth, had some rough times in her life. It wasn't easy to loose her children to disease, she became a widow way too young, and it was difficult to start a new life in a new country. She suffered, but she never lost faith in God.

Last verse listed in her Bible, but first in truth is Philippians 1:6 which reads...

"being confident of this, that he who began a good work will carry it on to completion until the day of Jesus Christ." 

God has begin the good work in us, and HE will complete it. How great is that? We can rest in His glory and love. If Jesus hadn't died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sin, we'd have to pay for it ourselves to be able to come before God, holy and blameless, Jude 24. Yes, yes - the cross means everlasting life to all who believe.

If you don't know these passages, read them, make them your own and ask the Lord to help you understand these truths.

As much as I'll miss my husband being here with the family for our Easter celebration, I smile when I think of him spending the day with Jesus in Heaven shouting Hallelujah!