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God's Strategic Investment

1 Peter 2:24
‘He himself bore our sins’ in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; ‘by his wounds you have been healed.’ (NIVUK)

The global recession of 2008/9 and the coronavirus pandemic of 2020 shook financial markets as investments became unstable with diminishing yields.  Nevertheless, much of the capital was not withdrawn because investors hoped to benefit in the long term.  These are very weak illustrations of God's long-term strategy of investing all His hopes and plans for the future of the world into Jesus.  Although Christ's death may have looked like a disaster, His resurrection showed that the greedy domination of evil was not all-powerful; God's sacrificial investment would be realised in Christ's church.
 
All of our sins were in Jesus when He was nailed to the cross (click to www.crosscheck.org.uk). His death was the penalty payment for all our wrong-doing and rebellion against God's authority in our lives. The substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus is modelled in Genesis 22:1-14 where God provided a ram to be sacrificed instead of Abraham’s son, Isaac.  It is also seen in Exodus 12:21-30 where the blood of the Passover Lamb substituted for the death of the firstborn.  Isaiah 53:5-6 shows how Jesus took the punishment that was due to us, “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.  We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

This is the heart of the gospel.  It is not enough to believe in the existence of God, even demons believe that (James 2:19).  The good news is that Jesus died for my sins and yours and invites us to repent and receive Him.  All true followers of Jesus believe this, and they are grateful to be released from the guilt, shame and punishment of their sin. But it does not stop there.  God now expects a return on His investment.  Firstly, He expects us to reject the idea that sin is ok: we must learn to resist temptation.  Secondly, we must wake up to the fact that we now belong to Christ and so we now live and work for a new Master; and we have an obligation to do whatever is right in His eyes (1 Peter 1:16).
 
The healing, which comes from sins forgiven, is not intended for us to squander in selfishness and sinful living, but to enliven us for God's service (Luke 8:39).  Surely, we should do all we can to express our gratitude through a Jesus-lifestyle.  Both home and work should be transformed as we demonstrate godly righteousness every day.  That is why Jesus died for us.  So, is God pleased with His investment of Jesus into your life?  When we fall in weakness, God wants us to claim forgiveness and rise in His strength to serve Him.  Anything less is a waste of our lives, and of Christ's.

Prayer 
Gracious God. I am truly grateful for the sacrifice of Jesus on my behalf. Yet I am also sad that I have failed to express my gratitude in a transformed life. I have sometimes assumed, wrongly, that I am now free to please myself. Please forgive me for despising Your investment of love and grace in me; and help me to choose, daily, to reject sin and live a life that pleases You. For Jesus Christ's sake. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams

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