August 18, 2010

We are God's Masterpieces

i AM CONSTANTLY RUBBING SHOULDERS WITH BELIEVERS OF ALL FAITHS. ?You name the denomination and I likely have attended one of their churches. I love people, and I strive to make the goal of reaching heaven very real and attainable to all those I meet.
God loves each of us more deeply than we can begin to imagine. Some people mistakenly believe that God the Father is austere and unapproachable, and that Jesus’ role is constantly to placate His wrath. This is not what the Bible teaches. When the disciples asked Jesus to tell them what God was like, His simple answer was: “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). What Jesus was saying is that the character of God is just as loving, compassionate, forgiving, patient, gentle, and sacrificial as His own. God, therefore, is love.
2010 1528 page31Saving humanity involved the combined influences of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. I can picture them somewhere back through the aeons of time meeting together to handle the contingency of sin erupting on Planet Earth. Because the Trinity reigns over the universe with love, every one of us was born with the power of choice. This freedom opens the possibility of choosing evil.
To save humanity—and the universe—from Satan’s rebellion and lies, a bold and frightful plan was devised. The Father, in His exquisite and perfect love, accepted His Son’s decision to die in the place of sinners. Only Jesus, God’s perfect Son, could ransom our souls.
Most parents, I believe, would say it would be easier to die themselves rather than allow their child to die. After the death of my own son, Richard, in March 2008, I wholeheartedly can acknowledge the same thing. I would have given anything that day in the emergency room for my son to live. I would have gladly and willingly died in his place. But it was not to be.
It was the love of God the Father that “gave His only begotton Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16, NKJV).*
Isaiah foretold that our Savior would be “despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (Isa. 53:3, NKJV). He was arrested, judged, and led away to die. But who among the people realized that He was dying for their sins, that He was suffering their punishment?
The guilt of fallen humanity was a weight that Jesus chose to bear, a bitter cup He chose to drink. The reality of sin was so great that He was tempted to fear that it would shut Him out forever from His Father’s love and the love of the Holy Spirit. His heart shrank from it. Matthew 26:37-42 tells us that His heart was crushed with grief, even to the point of death. In His darkest moment, it seemed that He was shut out from the light of God’s presence. On the cross He called out loudly, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matt. 27:46, NKJV).
Suddenly, the Bible tells us, the thick veil hanging in the Temple was torn in two from top to bottom. Then Jesus laid hold of His perfect faith and trust in God, saying, “‘Father, “into Your hands I commit My spirit.”’ Having said this, He breathed His last” (Luke 23:46, NKJV).

Every shameful sin of ours He silently bore. With the greatest and deepest love, the Creator of the universe gave His life for you and me. He offered not the blood of animals but Himself as a full and final sacrifice for sin. Soon He will come as King of kings and Lord of lords, and we shall reign with Him forever! 
*Texts credited to NKJV are from the New King James Version. Copyright ” 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Dick Rentfro is a retired Seventh-day Adventist pastor and evangelist living in Washington state. This article was published August 19, 2010.