And should I ever need remindingAnother in the Fire, Hillsong UNITED
Of how I’ve been set free
There is a cross that bears the burden
Where another died for me
Obviously, as a Christian, I know this part of the song is the most important. It’s the Gospel. It’s Jesus.
But maybe it’s not so obvious to everyone. I know there are people who don’t know the good news. Who haven’t been set free.
Set free from what? That’s a great question and I’ll come back to it in a minute. But first, can I tell you another story?
Once upon a time, before time, actually, there was God. Unlike any other being, God was one but he was also three. God the Father, God the Son and God the Spirit. It’s a hard thing to wrap your mind around, but isn’t that what we need in God? For him to be more than us? For him to be just a little bit un-understandable? After all, if he were just like us, how could he be God?
Anyway, this God, who exists beyond and outside of time decided to create. He spoke this world into existence. At his command, something came from nothing. He changed nothing into everything. And according to his own words, “It was good.”
After making the heavens, the earth, vegetation, and all kinds of animals, God wasn’t done. He was just starting on his magnum opus: humanity. And so he created man and woman. He gave them everything they need to thrive. He walked and talked with them and he gave them free-will. As we all know, they blew it pretty much right away and sin entered the world, corrupting and destroying it ever since.
A perfect God couldn’t be around sin. He was pure in all ways and corrupt people couldn’t touch him or even be around him. So he immeadiately put into place a plan for humanity to reunite with him. It would be hard. It would require a blood sacrifice. But it would be done. It would work. It would allow God and man to be together again.
Throughout time, God gave people many chances to get things right. He spoke to them through prophets and angels and once, even the mouth of a stubborn donkey! And sometimes they would listen for a while but always, always, the people returned to their sin.
There was no way for the creation to reconcile itself with the creator. Nothing humans did could make up for their imperfections; their transgressions against their maker. But the maker loved his people and he longed for them to be together. So he decided to become the reconciliation himself.
Jesus, the part of God that takes on physical form, who was there at the beginning of time, came to earth as a humble baby. He lived a mortal life for 33 years, walking the ground as a man.
He wasn’t what the people were expecting. He didn’t have an army or a political following. He had something better. He had love. He had forgiveness. He had the bread of life and living water.
Jesus wasn’t shy about telling others that they missed the point. That all of their religion and pomp and circumstance meant nothing if their hearts weren’t right with God. Oh, that ruffled some feathers. The religious elite, they weren’t having any of that. They hatched up some crazy charges and had the Romans put the Son of God on a cross.
It isn’t that he wanted to die. In fact, it certainly seems like he was hoping for a way out. Any other way.
But the only way to reconcile the sinners and the sinless God was a blood sacrifice. So Jesus took the lashes, the beating, and the nails through his hands and feet. In doing so, he took on the sins of the world. Every. Single. One.
And that blood sacrifice was enough. That blood sacrifice sets us free from our sin and free to know and love and be in the presence of the one who created us.
Jesus loves us enough that he quite literally gave his own life for ours. He went through Hell to make a way for us to go to Heaven.