He Died for Me

Octavius Winslow writes, in his great work Morning Thoughts, “By faith I can not only say that Jesus died for sinners, but that He died for me.”  Indeed this is a powerful thought.  I wonder, do you have the same faith? Of course I must then ask: Do I?  It seems impossible that I could answer that I don’t.  But it also seems highly possible that many around may, even myself, be so caught up in Churchianity that we have not simply forgotten but missed completely the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. What are our dangers in missing a true faith in the Gospel?

1) It has to be possible that we simply don’t understand the Gospel but think that we have it, because we believe Jesus was real.  Many of us who focus intensely on doctrine get caught up in a Christ who is formulaic in essence.  He’s the man-God who fulfilled the prophecy and because the Bible says he did …blah… then we believe he’s the God of the Bible.  Believing Jesus is the God described in the Bible won’t save you.  The question should never be “Do you believe in Jesus?”  It seems more appropriate to ask “Are you trusting in Jesus Christ’s saving work on the cross as your only hope to be reconciled to God into relationship, worship, and righteous works?”… or something to that effect (not exactly that, it’d seem a bit long winded after a few weeks).

2) It is not only possible but likely that many focus the Gospel on ourselves.  It’s the Good News to Griffin, not the Good News of Christ!  Of course it’s the good news to me, but it’s the content of that news that is important.  We say something like “Jesus died for me because he knew he could use me” or “what did Jesus see in me that he would save me?”  The answer to that is simply this:  Jesus saw a totally lost sinner totally unable to achieve any of the Law and satisfy God.  Because of my/our evil damning sin, he died for us. Or course, because he loves us. Nothing else.  It seems appropriate to note that when the Bible says “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us so that we might become the righteousness of God” that it’s implied that we are in essence so full of sin that we are sin personified without Christ.  Thus, the Lord God made Christ sin for us, so that we might be righteous!

3) It’s possible- nay likely, that we simply mix up the implications of the Gospel with the Gospel itself.  Most of all, we miss the point of good works.  We say things like “If he/she is really a Christian, they would be better at … blah, blah, blah… .  Don’t they know God doesn’t approve of them when they do that?” Did you catch it?  It was HUGE right there!  Not God doesn’t approve of their action, but that God doesn’t approve of them!  As if anything we could do could separate us from the saving love and work of Christ! (Romans 8)  Let’s get something straight right now:  Not all righteous deeds are like filthy rags- only those done outside the lordship of Christ (Is. 64:6).  But you don’t add anything to your salvation if you  truly believe, you simply worship!  You worship the almighty Lord who has come to rescue us from the domain of darkness, transferring us into the Kingdom of God and to the love of the Triune God forever!  God does not disapprove of you– maybe what you’re doing- but not you yourself– if you are saved.  All of your righteousness comes from Christ.  You add nothing.  You take away nothing.  You simply worship, as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God (Romans 12).

So what?  What now?  We get what we missed.  So what’s right?

To believe Christ died for you is not to see Him as a symbol, an idea, a doctrine, or a historical guy.  None of that will save you, albeit it’s veracity.  To believe Christ died for you and me is to washed by the washing of regeneration by the Holy Spirit! (Titus 3) To have faith is to have a new nature, one who hates sin- even their own deepest sin, and GROANS for redemption (Romans 8). Theres a great song by the worship teams at The Village Church in Dallas, TX that to this effect sings “May my sin be bitter so that Christ may be sweet!” Amen! To, by faith (as Winslow said above) believe that not only did Christ die for sinners but also for me is for me to put my total and complete trust in Christ to wash me clean of my sins as the ultimate sacrifice, to give me all the righteousness he earned so I can stand in worship in the presence of God, and to give me grace to strive for him and the purpose(s) of his Kingdom until my death.  

On the days my faith is weak, it’s easy to stumble and wonder if I am even saved at all. This is a safe wonder, encouraged even by the Apostle Paul who says “Examine yourself and make sure you’re in the faith” [author paraphrase]. If I’m saved how can I possibly be so weak in faith? I know now the answer:  it is not the quality of my faith, rather the object of my faith.  It is that in my weakest moments, I receive by faith the grace of knowing that Christ did not hypothetically or generally die for sinners- but that he died for Griffin Thomas Gulledge- a weak worm of a man who deserves only rightful damnation, but has been miraculously saved.  Saved to God, to works, to love from all that I once was. 

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a miracle.  I would not have loved him if he had not first loved me.  Nor would I have chosen him, till God in love chose me.  Only he could save me.  I praise God that he did and was gracious enough to embed that assurance in my soul. 
How about you? Has God warmed your heart towards His Gospel and embittered you to sin?  How are you growing in grace?

One Comment

  1. Good blog, Griffin. God's grace has saved me and set me free from the self-centered acts of pseudo righteousness and legalism that bound me to striving for unattainable perfection, and led me to judgement of people around me. I am so grateful that I have been saved from my “self” and am growing to walk in grace and love.



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