Friday, October 14, 2011

One Tiny Part

For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin--because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace. Romans 6:6-7, 14

A few of you witnessed a rather difficult day in my life a few weeks ago.  My car had broken down and had to be dragged onto the bed of a truck and carried to the repair shop.  I had driven to the church that morning and parked in our front parking lot with no problems.  Later that afternoon, I got in my car and tried to depart only to find that the transmission was locked in ‘Park.’  Nothing I could do could get it shift into reverse…or any other gear for that matter.  I sat there in my broken car and savored the irony…the engine was running fine.  All that horsepower, yet I was completely immobilized.  
A day later, the mechanics at the dealership had my car repaired.  The service manager told me that it was a single nylon part…one tiny piece of plastic had broken and my transmission had been rendered powerless to move me anywhere.  A powerful machine, completely defeated by a hidden fragile part...

For All Have Sinned
Every one of us has frailties.  Our weaknesses to temptation may vary from one person to another, yet we all share a fallen sin nature.  Without the saving sacrifice of Jesus, we would indeed be without hope…without help.  

Walking across that same parking lot this week, I was considering the hidden fragile parts of the follower of Christ.  We tend to see ourselves as strong, and yet we are not.  We are vulnerable to the tendencies of our weakest parts.  What are those? Anger? Jealousy? Greed? Lust? Ambition? Addiction? Other areas? The list gets long quickly doesn’t it?  Were we to yield to sin’s call, our entire world could become affected…and infected. 

Imagine the irony of such an existence: All the power of Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the Word of God available to us for daily living…and yet if one of those hidden fragile parts is allowed to take control, it all can grind to a halt.  And there we are: broken, needing to be mended…restored.  Because of this tendency, we are compelled to…cling to the cross.

Cling to the Cross
I’ve heard pastors preach of the ‘power of the cross’, and I do not suggest that they have done so in error.  Yet in truth, the cross itself was not powerful.  It was merely the instrument of Christ’s death.  It was two pieces of wood and a few nails…the cumulative effect of which was extreme human agony and eventual death.  

The true power of the cross was in Christ’s willingness to die.  He was obedient to the will of the Father unto death, and in dying, he became the worthy sacrifice for the guilt of sin…all sin.  By the grace of our Heavenly Father, by faith, we participate in the death and resurrection of Jesus.  As Paul explains in Galatians 2:20:  “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”  

We cling to the cross therefore, not for any redemptive power it has of itself, for it has none.  But we cling to it as a desperate reminder that there, by faith, the power of sin over us was cancelled.  As we read above in Romans 6:6, it was in the cross, by faith, that we died to sin.  

We cling to the cross, as it becomes the reminder of our own obedience to die to self that Christ might live within us.  We cling to the cross not in denial of our hidden, sinful nature, those vulnerable tiny parts, but because of them.  

Prayer: “Oh Lord, you know my every weakness.  You know my mind.  You know my ways.  As I live today, make me mindful of all you accomplished on Calvary’s cross, and compel me to live worthy of your great gift.  Amen.”

Devotional Archive